New library exhibit and commemorative book spark attention amidst sesquicentennial anniversary
In honor of Virginia Tech’s Sesquicentennial anniversary, three University Libraries’ archivists teamed up to create the new exhibit, "Celebrating Virginia Tech: A Chronology of 150 Years." This one-of-a-kind exhibit highlighting the history of Virginia Tech is located on the second floor of Newman Library and will be on display through the end of May.
The Hokie Nation is invited to an upcoming event, No Ordinary Celebration, for a dedication of the exhibit and to mark the publication of the book "No Ordinary Moment: Virginia Tech, 150 Years in 150 Images." The event will be held Oct. 13 from 4-5 p.m. on the second floor of Newman Library.
The exhibit features over 300 items photos, stories, and artifacts that focus on eight themes: maps, (re)organization, protests, fire and water, commencement, inclusion and diversity, University Libraries, and the physical campus.
The archivist trio, Anthony Wright de Hernandez, Marc Brodsky, and LM Rozema, collaborated with Scott Fralin, exhibits program manager, to bring the exhibit to life.
Fralin designed, fabricated, and installed the exhibit, including a video component and an oral history kiosk. Oral histories featured came from the VT Stories project via Ren Harman, oral history projects archivist.
Each of the three archivists were responsible for presenting approximately one-third of the chronology.
“It is a way to help everyone who visits the exhibit feel a bit more connected to Virginia Tech, to learn more about it, and help them find their own place here,” said Fralin. “Unlike some past exhibits related to Virginia Tech history, this exhibit sets out to tell as much of the story as possible rather than just a small piece of it. There is a lot to cover from the past 150 years and the archivists and researchers who developed the content did a great job making choices about what to include to make the exhibit a reasonable size and be as complete as possible.”
Virginia Tech has a rich history over the past 150 years. “A lot has changed such as the admission of women and students of color, allowing students to enroll as civilians rather than being in the Corps of Cadets, changes to physical infrastructure, organizational changes, changes to curricular programs, and more. This exhibit is a big deal,” said Wright de Hernandez. “The sesquicentennial anniversary only comes once, and it will be decades before the university celebrates its 175th or 200th anniversary.
“We tried to represent the university’s history as fully as possible while recognizing that we could never encompass the whole of the institution in one exhibit,” said Wright de Hernandez.
“I think even the most knowledgeable Hokies will learn a lot about the university's history from the exhibit,” said Rozema. “I've worked in the university archives for nearly eight years now and felt that I knew a great deal, but I still learned a lot from it. The exhibit highlights many lesser known but still greatly interesting points in Virginia Tech's history as well as the big stuff we all have memorized.”
Additionally, to commemorate Virginia Tech’s Sesquicentennial anniversary University Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives collaborated on a new book that highlights Virginia Tech history in a similar fashion by featuring unique or rare photographs from the collections and university history. The book, "No Ordinary Moment: Virginia Tech, 150 Years in 150 Images," was compiled and written by University Libraries’ archivists and is centered on three principal themes: Virginia Tech’s land-grant mission, a changing campus, and a long tradition of innovation. These themes provide an overlapping look at Virginia Tech’s past, present, and future.
"No Ordinary Moment" was published by Virginia Tech Publishing (VTP), which shepherded the book from idea to finished product. This is the first VTP book published specifically for print. Copies can be purchased from the University Bookstore, online, and in brick-and-mortar retailers. All proceeds will be used to support Special Collections and University Archives. In keeping with the University Libraries’ and Virginia Tech Publishing’s commitment to ensure access to information, "No Ordinary Moment" is freely available online as a PDF download.