Special Collections & Archives: Behind the Scenes

The Special Collections and Archives Research Center, a room with shelves of books and tables for patron use.
FSU Special Collections & Archives Research Center, photo courtesy of Florida State University/Jonathan Allain.

Visitors may be familiar with our public spaces, such as our Reading Room in Strozier Library, pictured here. Or maybe they have been to our Pepper Library Reading Room or the Heritage Museum in Dodd Hall. But what about what happens behind the scenes? Ever wonder about what we do in Special Collections & Archives? How we make materials available online, preserve them for the long-term, or take an item from its donation to its delivery to you in the reading room for research? If you’ve ever asked any of these questions, you’ve come to the right place.

Below, explore blog posts about the many different facets of our work, from digitization to instruction and beyond.


Hymn To the… Purple and Gold?

Happy College Colors Day! To celebrate, we wanted to share an interesting bit of our university’s history with you. Though Florida State University is recognized by its garnet and gold school colors, FSU’s predecessor institutions went through several color changes before settling on the iconic combination that we are so familiar with today.  The storyContinue reading “Hymn To the… Purple and Gold?”

Seedling Till

An Original Poem by Linney Osias commemorating what would have been Emmett Till’s 80th birthday.

Propagating the Truth: Mamie and Me

I am honored to be writing about Mamie Till now more than ever because I am currently an Emmett Till Archives Intern at FSU. I have gotten to experience her story on a different level.

MythBusters Month Wrap-Up

Throughout the month of April we shared some of the most commonly held misconceptions and myths about Special Collections & Archives, and then proceeded to debunk them. Here is a roundup of all our mythbusting posts in case you missed one. Welcome to Special Collections & Archives MythBusters Month! by Rachel Duke Rachel showed usContinue reading “MythBusters Month Wrap-Up”

FSU SCA Artists’ Books Featured in New Digital Exhibit

Undergraduate students in the Spring 2021 “Museum Object” course (FSU Department of Art History) spent the semester developing and curating Show & Tell, an online exhibition of artists’ books. They collaborated with FSU Libraries Special Collections & Archives and the Small Craft Advisory Press (SCAP) and endeavored to use this year’s non-traditional exhibition format toContinue reading “FSU SCA Artists’ Books Featured in New Digital Exhibit”

New Year, New Look, More Stories

Thank you to Katie McCormick, Associate Dean for Special Collections & Archives, for this post to kick off our new blog redesign. Welcome to Illuminations, the FSU Libraries Special Collections & Archives blog. Whether you are a regular reader or this is your first time here, you’re in a new place. We’re excited about ourContinue reading “New Year, New Look, More Stories”

Vote!

October is coming to an end pretty soon and the National Election on November 3rd is approaching fast! The University has an important resource, FSU Votes, that may come in handy before casting a ballot. There, you can learn more about obtaining a sample ballot, tracking a mail-in ballot, safety precautions for in-person voting, yourContinue reading “Vote!”

Sun City

Recently, we digitized the Sun City Development and Motion Picture Studio Plat Map Sheets for use in a class which led me to look into…what are these exactly? I uncovered a fascinating story of the brother of Cleveland railroad barons and a Georgia inventor who, a decade apart, tried to bring Hollywood to Florida. DuringContinue reading “Sun City”

Maggie Kuhn, Claude Pepper and the Repeal of Mandatory Retirement

“Some persons dodder at 30, others at 80, and some pass through life without “doddering” at all. Our concern should be with competency, not age, race, sex or religion” – Representative Claude Pepper, 1986 There was a time for many professions in the United States when a person’s 65th birthday signaled the end of theirContinue reading “Maggie Kuhn, Claude Pepper and the Repeal of Mandatory Retirement”

Found in the Archives: The Capitol March for the Equal Rights Amendment in Tallahassee

October is American Archives Month! As an institution that works alongside and documents the local community, I wanted to highlight two collections housed in the Claude Pepper Library that illustrate local political action in our historic capitol: The National Organization of Women, Tallahassee Chapter Records and the League of Women Voters, Tallahassee Chapter Records. TheContinue reading “Found in the Archives: The Capitol March for the Equal Rights Amendment in Tallahassee”

Welcome to American Archives Month!

Watch this space! Florida State University Special Collections & Archives will be participating in American Archives Month by sharing some of our personal experiences in the archives in blog posts here and on FSU Libraries social accounts.

TRANSforming the Stacks

***Trigger Warning: trans slurs/derogatory terms***     Our first submission is from Kacee Reguera, a recently-graduated student worker, who has been with Special collections for 2 years. While this project was geared towards the full-time staff, I chose to highlight her contribution first because I’m happy to see this conversation being engaged with by everyoneContinue reading “TRANSforming the Stacks”

LGBTQ+ in Rare Books and Manuscripts: A Pride Month Project Becomes a Blog Series!

Hello! My name is Gino Romero. As a student, it was comforting to know that it wasn’t just me, that the institution was also struggling to find these histories. But as a researcher, I was frustrated beyond reason. I wondered why it’s so hard to find these histories. Now I work in Special Collections andContinue reading “LGBTQ+ in Rare Books and Manuscripts: A Pride Month Project Becomes a Blog Series!”

What is an Archives?

As part of International Archives Week 2020, the International Council of Archives (ICA) has encouraged its members to consider what archives are and what they mean to researchers and society. Read on for my thoughts and a few sources on archival collections, institutions, and professionals, and what parts they play in empowering 21st century communities.

Behind the Scenes: Building a Digital Exhibit with Omeka

Like all of you, Covid-19 made an abrupt change to my spring semester. Thankfully, my Digital History class was mostly unaffected because the assignments were already web-based. Our final project had us create a digital exhibit using Omeka.net which is a free platform available from the Roy Rosenzweig Center for New Media. As opposed toContinue reading “Behind the Scenes: Building a Digital Exhibit with Omeka”

Happy Preservation Week!

From April 26th-May 2nd, the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services is celebrating Preservation Week. This initiative includes events from all over the country, which includes free webinars, a Twitter conference, and more. At FSU, we’d like to celebrate Preservation Week by showing off some of the preservation rehousing work we’ve done in theContinue reading “Happy Preservation Week!”

Florida Home Economics Association Scrapbooks

With our work on extension service scrapbooks with the Havana History and Heritage Society for Gadsden County, we took a look at our own collections and found Leon County scrapbooks for a similar period on our own shelves! The Florida Home Economics Association Records holds scrapbooks which are mostly Leon County extension service records fromContinue reading “Florida Home Economics Association Scrapbooks”

Celebrating Women’s History with a new digital collection

The DLC recently completed processing and started loading materials from the League of Women Voters (LWV), Tallahassee Chapter Records materials held at the Claude Pepper Library into DigiNole. The materials in this first round of digitization with the collection include the newsletters of the Tallahassee chapter from 1962-2012 as well as Study and Action guidesContinue reading “Celebrating Women’s History with a new digital collection”

Archives Month in FSU Special Collections & Archives

October is American Archives Month. And while every month is Archives Month to those of us here in Special Collections & Archives, October is the month we really like to toot our own horn. We kicked off the festivities this year with our annual takeover of the FSU Libraries twitter handle for #AskAnArchivist day whichContinue reading “Archives Month in FSU Special Collections & Archives”

#AskAnArchivist Day is tomorrow!

FSU Special Collections & Archives is once again participating in #AskAnArchivist Day, the kick-off event for American Archives Month. We’ll be taking over the FSU Libraries twitter feed (@fsulibraries) tomorrow, Wednesday, October 2, 2019 from 10am to 6pm. How does this work? Archivists here at FSU and all over the country will take to TwitterContinue reading “#AskAnArchivist Day is tomorrow!”

New Digital Exhibit on Integration at FSU

A new digital exhibit is now available, featuring information and documents that expand on the items currently on display in at the Heritage Museum in Dodd Hall. The exhibit is titled A University in Transition: The Long Path to Integration and focuses on the role of institutional racism in delaying state university integration. It also highlightsContinue reading “New Digital Exhibit on Integration at FSU”

Poetry in Protest, a new Exhibit in Strozier Library

Poetry can be a powerful tool for eliciting emotion and is frequently used to express dissent or advocate for change. FSU Special Collections & Archives’ latest exhibition, “Poetry in Protest,” explores the genres, tactics, and voices of poets that write against the existing world and imagine societal revolution. As a means of delving into theContinue reading “Poetry in Protest, a new Exhibit in Strozier Library”

Girl’s Own Paper

This post is part of our series celebrating American Archives Month. Last week, Special Collections & Archives did a Twitter Takeover of the @fsulibraries feed for #AskAnArchivist day so be sure to check out those conversations.  The Digital Library Center has been busy loading material into DigiNole, and one of the most recent additions is the Girl’s OwnContinue reading “Girl’s Own Paper”

Artists’ Books Collection Continues to Grow

This post kicks off a month of posts celebrating American Archives Month. Yesterday, Special Collections & Archives did a Twitter Takeover of the @fsulibraries feed for #AskAnArchivist day so be sure to check out those conversations.  This post is written by Melissa Quarles, Special Collections & Archives’ new graduate assistant. You’ll be hearing more fromContinue reading “Artists’ Books Collection Continues to Grow”

Updating the Heritage Museum

A guest post by Brianna McLean, currently working with Heritage & University Archives on exhibit development. Starting with the institution’s inception as the Seminary West of the Suwannee River in 1851, a new exhibit I’ve been working on for the Heritage Museum follows the timeline of Florida State University through important historic milestones: the CivilContinue reading “Updating the Heritage Museum”

Florida State: Traditions through the Eras

Florida State: Traditions through the Eras is an exhibit that traces back some of Florida State University’s most well-known traditions through the institution’s long history. What we now know as FSU has gone through many changes over the years: beginning as the Seminary West of the Suwannee River, then the Florida State College, Florida StateContinue reading “Florida State: Traditions through the Eras”

Clifton in the Capital: Tallahassee Civic Activist Exhibition Opening

Guests are invited to explore the life works of Clifton Van Brunt Lewis, a local activist in the Tallahassee civil rights movement who championed for equality, pushed for historic preservation and founded many of Tallahassee’s beloved cultural institutions, including LeMoyne Center for the Arts, Tallahassee Museum, and the Spring House Institute. Clifton and her husbandContinue reading “Clifton in the Capital: Tallahassee Civic Activist Exhibition Opening”

In his “Great Shadow”: Robert Burns’ Legacy

Robert Burns’ ability to spontaneously produce musical and poignant verse earned him the title of “Scotland’s Bard,” and ensured that his legacy would remain especially close to that nation’s people and their descendants. Special Collections & Archives’ forthcoming exhibit, “In his ‘Great Shadow’: Robert Burns’ Legacy,” opening January 22nd, explores not only the lyrical finesseContinue reading “In his “Great Shadow”: Robert Burns’ Legacy”

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