Join Us for a Special Collections Open House!

September 16th, 2013 by Jessica Lacher-Feldman

Open House graphic

 

On Tuesday October 1, 2013 from 2:30-5:30 pm, LSU Libraries Special Collections will host an Open House event.  This is an opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and the general public to stop by and visit the Hill Memorial Library, meet the faculty, staff and students who work here, and learn more about what we do and what our library holds.

The event will feature demonstrations of some of the work we do, including minor conservation work such as making enclosures; processing and cataloging; digitizing and microfilming; as well as information and the demonstration of projects and areas that fall under Special Collections, including the T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History; the Civil War Book Review; and two important grant projects relating to digitizing newspapers, and the collaborative NEH grant to digitize materials relating to Louisiana’s Free People of Color.

As part of the Open House, we will also be showcasing some of our favorite things from the collections, allowing visitors to see rare and unique items, and to talk with curators and other staff about our holdings and how the materials at Hill can help further research and scholarship at every level.   The Open House is an opportunity to share some of the ‘special collections superlatives’ such as our oldest, smallest, largest, and most intriguing items.  This is just a small sampling of what is available to all at Hill, but it is a fun way to show off some select interesting rare and unique materials.

For example, did you know that the library has a photograph of Varina Davis (a daguerreotype) from the late 1840s –  just a few years after the invention of photography?

The Hill Memorial Library is home to over 5000 manuscript collections, including political papers of such notable Louisianans as Huey and Russell Long and John Breaux.  It also is home to rare documents that help illustrate the very beginnings of Louisiana statehood, such as the Claiborne Letter Book, as well as materials that document the Civil Rights struggle in Louisiana.  The library is also a place to learn about books, from “incunabula” (books printed before the year 1501 – in the era of Gutenberg and the invention of moveable type), to comic books, modern artists’ books, and works of science fiction and fantasy.  There are many, many surprises, including one of largest and most comprehensive collections on the game of poker held anywhere.

“Special Collections is open to all — all of the time.  This library is here for everyone, and we welcome everyone to come and take advantage of the infinite resources available in Hill. We thought that this Open House would be a good way to share some interesting things about the collections and the work that we do in a new way,”  said the newly appointed Head of Special Collections, Jessica Lacher-Feldman.  “I see this as a unique opportunity to engage users and potential users in a casual way.  I feel its important to know that you don’t always need a reason or need to see something specific to visit special collections.  Come in, look around, and talk to us.  I am looking forward to meeting new people from across campus during the Open House, and hope it will spark further interest in using the collections for research, projects, and in creative and new ways.  Come in to see what’s special about Special Collections.  The answer, in a nutshell, is everything!”

In addition to the collections, projects, and processes, there will be two exhibits going on in Hill’s gallery areas.  “Centuries of Style: A RETROspective of Dress” is a two part exhibit that features the photography of LSU alum Jane McCowan on the first floor.  The second floor features images from throughout our collections that reflect sartorial choices and fashions from throughout the world, from ancient times to the 20th century.  The second exhibit, which opens on September 23 is entitled “Saturday Night in Tiger Stadium” commemorates the 25th anniversary of the 1988 football game, now widely known as the Earthquake Game.  The original seismogram will be on display in the exhibit. It can also be viewed in the LOUISiana Digital Library at http://cdm16313.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p120701coll24/id/323/rec/20.

The Open House is meant for all — come by for a few minutes, or stay as long as you like.  This event is held in conjunction with the celebration of American Archives Month, a national celebration of the power and significance of archives. For more information about the Open House, contact Jessica Lacher-Feldman at jlacherfeldman@lsu.edu or at (225) 578-6544.

 

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