On Wednesday, Oct. 12, UConn Archives and Special Collections hosted an event in the archives, showcasing all that the department has to offer. The archive is housed in the Dodd Center for Human Rights, which is located just south of Homer Babbidge Library.
Multiple activities were set up at the open house for guests, a main feature being a walkthrough in the archive’s reading room. Six tables were set up, with one table representing the focus of each of the five archivists who work for the department, along with an extra setup of UConn-themed board games (including “UConn-opoly”).
Each of the archivists specializes in certain kinds of collections, and the archive holds various different types of materials, from the gear of a 1960s UConn hockey player, to zines and other publications promoting a variety of causes, to objects and images of industry and infrastructure throughout the state, and much more.
In addition to the reading room walkthrough, personal tours were also available, where university archivist Betsy Pittman walked guests through multiple sections of the building. The first stop on the tour was the technical services wing of Archives and Special Collections, one of two office spaces where behind-the-scenes work is done. The second stop was a floor of the stacks, where archived materials are held. There, Pittman demonstrated how items are stored in the archives, with a system of compact shelving set up with an electronic movement system. There are hundreds of rows of materials, with three floors of shelves in the building.
After guests finished the walkthrough and the tour, there were still other parts of the event to attend. A scavenger hunt was set up, where patrons could gather information from the walkthrough and other parts of the building. Upon completing the hunt, one was eligible to be entered into a raffle for some archives-themed goodies.
The event served as a way to show what the archive has to offer to members of the UConn community. It can be used as a massive resource for research purposes, and is open to the public by appointment from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays.
As an example of how the archives can be used as a resource, a section of ENGL 1007 was set up in the classroom space adjacent to the reading room at the time of the open house. According to English professor Tina Huey, the class was focused on making zines, with help from a kit supplied to them by the archives. The students had to follow the prompt “generations” to design their own zine, interpreting in different ways how they belong to a specific generation, or multiple.
In addition to all the festivities, snacks and drinks were provided, alongside some free archives-themed merchandise including pins and postcards.
To make an appointment to visit the archives, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit Archives and Special Collections on the UConn Library website.