Look through The Benton’s viewfinder for a glimpse at UConn’s history 


From protests to sports games to campus clubs, the William Benton Museum of Art’s newest exhibition will offer a unique glimpse into UConn’s past with “UConn Through the Viewfinder: Connecticut Daily Campus Photographs from the Howard Goldbaum Collection, 1967-70.”  

In the late 1960s Howard Goldbaum, now a professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, was a staff photographer and later photo editor of The Daily Campus. The exhibition is entirely comprised of photos he took for The Daily Campus which were donated as photographic negatives to the University of Connecticut Library’s Archives & Special Collections.  

The exhibition showcases various parts of student life that are still present today like Homecoming and women’s basketball. Some photos stand out like the photo of a meet for the motorcycle club, or photos of the Little International Livestock and Horse Show, which is still an event on campus. 

“[The exhibit] speaks to the contribution student journalism makes towards the history of UConn,” Amanda Douberley, the assistant curator and academic liaison at the Benton, said. 

In a room to the right of the exhibit, there is a simulated darkroom that walks viewers through the process of developing film. In a traditional darkroom, photographic negatives are prepared on contact sheets and later magnified through a photo enlarger. Once test strips have been developed, the final image is developed through chemicals. Douberley noted that the Student Union used to have a darkroom since there were so many photographers on campus in the 1960s. 

In curating the exhibit, Douberley enjoyed how much of the editorial process is shown in the photographs and displays. Spreads of old Daily Campus pages are displayed in glass cases, showing how certain photos were manipulated and others were simply never printed.  

Douberley explained that she worked with archivist Graham Stinnett and university archivist Betsy Pittman in going through over a thousand photos that comprised Golbaum’s work to pick out which to scan and put on display for the exhibit. None of the images were altered from the original negatives for the exhibit. 

Much of Goldbaum’s work on display features student protests that took place in Washington D.C. or on campus, drawing parallels between UConn’s past and present student body. 

“[We’re] interested in drawing connections between UConn 50 years ago and the university today,” Douberely said. “What are the things that have changed? What are the things that people are still fighting for?” 

If students are interested in viewing more of Goldbaum’s work outside of the exhibit, they can do so through the UConn Libary’s Archives & Special Collections website. 

The Benton will hold an opening reception with music and food for the new exhibit on Jan. 30, from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The next First Thursday will announce a campus photo contest, asking students to submit their best photos that capture student life.  

Thumbnail photo courtesy of William Benton Museum of Art on Instagram.

Brandon Barzola is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at brandon.barzola@uconn.edu

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