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WSU exhibits provide intriguing links to the past
PULLMAN – After nearly 300 years, angels and demons are still battling in the depths of WSU’S Holland- Terrell Library for Paradise lost – preserved in a folio edition.
This epic poem, written by John Milton in 1667, can be found in the Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections (MASC) unit, as can thousands of other exquisite books and novels.
Trevor Bond, interim head of MASC, said the unit exists to provide students a chance to interact with the raw sources of history on a personal level.
“In 1978, the library fused the humanities special collections with University Archives and Manuscripts to come up with a grand collection,” Bond said. “Whether it’s ‘Paradise Lost,’ Virginia Woolf’s personal library or ancient fishing guides, we preserve and provide them for students to utilize.”
In the past month, Bond has worked to further publicize the ancient secrets hidden deep within the Holland-Terrell Library. Located between the CUB and library is an exhibit visually depicting “The Weird, the Wonderful and the Downright Bizarre: Rare Books in the MASC.”
This festive exhibit, curated by Andrew McCarthy and Nora Wiechert with graphics by Jeff Kuure, highlights interesting and remarkable source materials available at MASC. It will be up through the fall semester.
“We wanted to create an exhibit that would showcase these exquisite books and give people an idea of how the world was once viewed,” Wiechert said. “It’s amazing to look at these pictures on display and see how far we’ve come on so many levels.”
Wiechert, an English professor at WSU, said she uses the MASC materials to help teach her students, as well.
Window to the past
“I find it beneficial for students to not only read and study a book in class, but have the chance to touch and hold an ancient and preserved version of the book,” she said. “It gives you a new view and appreciation for it.”
McCarthy, a graduate student in English who teamed up with Wiechert on the project, said the exhibit was created as a way to generate excitement about books.
“Older printed books, first editions, travel manuals, famous author’s libraries, and 16th- and 17th-Century books – it is such a large collection for students to take interest in,” McCarthy said.
Yet, what McCarthy finds most exciting is the ability for the books to open a small window into the past.
“To be able to hold this piece of literature in your hands and know that you are grasping an item that has traveled through time and space to get to where you are now – that’s the best part.”
While MASC does not allow students to check out these books, the opportunity is available to visit the unit and comfortably sit with a book for reading pleasure.
Winning the victory
Furthermore, Mark O’English, MASC’s university archivist, has created a new exhibit titled “Winning the Victory: Early Days of Football at Washington State” for visitors to enjoy. The exhibit, displaying artifacts from the early days of WSU football, opened in September and will be up through football season.
“This is a timely exhibit that highlights WSU’s football history though photographs, rare printed artifacts and digital videos,” Bond said.
The exhibit is broken into seven primary components, each illustrated through a combination of photographs, movies and documents. From WSU’s first Rose Bowl in 1916 to a succession of six live cougars – and their namesake, 5’3” quarterback ‘Butch’ – all is preserved within the glass cases in Holland-Terrell Library.
MASC will open the exhibit four hours before kickoff for every WSU home football game.
“We want to give students, alumni and friends the chance to come and nostalgically visit the exhibit and view some of the moments that have made WSU what is it today,” Bond said.
For more information on the MASC, contact Trevor Bond at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for more information on the early days of football exhibit at WSU.
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