Bailey students enjoy their visit

10 08 2010

On Monday, August 9, nineteen first and second graders from the summer day care program at Bailey school in East Lansing visited the University Archives & Historical Collections to learn what the archives does and a little bit about MSU history.  Public Services Archivist Portia Vescio led the session with the Bailey students, with Director Cynthia Ghering and intern Stephanie Soule assisting.

Some of the fun historical information the students learned was about Liberty Hyde Bailey, the 1882 Michigan State graduate and former horticulture professor, for whom their school is named.  The students saw several of the historical materials in the archives, including scrapbooks, posters, and ledgers that were as big as the students themselves.  The first and second graders also saw a freshman beanie and got the opportunity to decorate their own beanie (paper hat).  Finally, students were given a diploma at the end of the session.

Summer roundup

2 08 2010

It seems too early to start thinking about the end of summer, but the truth is that classes at MSU begin in just about four weeks.  The summer has been very busy at the University Archives & Historical Collections and there is not much of a slow down for the Fall semester.  Two weeks ago staff from the UAHC spent time at Ag Expo trying to get people interested not only in the history of MSU, but also in their own family history.  We also made an appearance at the Great Dairy Adventure, again trying to show kids how at MSU the dairy program has evolved over the years.

August will prove to be another busy month with Director Cynthia Ghering teaching a class on records management procedures for MSU’s Human Resource Development Program.  That class is on August 4 and already has 30 people registered for it.  On Monday, August 9, children from East Lansing’s Bailey School are coming for a visit to learn what the University Archives does and see some of the highlights from the collections.  Later in the month, staff will do more promotional activities at the New Faculty Orientation and the Residence Life Fair.

September is another busy month with Public Services Archivist Portia Vescio going to speak to residents at The Marquette about MSU Trivia.  Also in September, members from the MSU Library reference department will be coming into the archives for a tour.

Portia will also be teaching a freshman seminar this fall about the history of student life at MSU.  Additionally, there are a number of classes that have expressed interest in bringing their class into the University Archives during the Fall semester for work with primary documents and other projects.  If you want to know more about having an archivist talk to your class please contact Portia Vescio at 517-355-2330 or

We hope everyone enjoys the last few weeks of summer!

Open House at University Archives

29 04 2010

On Tuesday, May 11, 2010 from 5:00-6:30pm the University Archives & Historical Collections (UAHC) will host an open house for staff from Libraries, Computing & Technology departments.  Staff will view the recently renovated UAHC reading room and see the new movable shelving.  Highlights from the collections will be on display and staff will learn fun facts about MSU’s history.  Among the highlights will be maps from throughout campus history, scrapbooks from alumni, and class rivalry posters.

At 6:30pm University Records Archivist Whitney Miller will be giving a presentation to the MSU Alumni Club of Mid-Michigan.  Whitney will be speaking about the unique collections, current educational projects using archival materials, and our new online presence.  Everyone is invited to stay for the presentation in the Conrad Hall Auditorium.

The UAHC will also be celebrating National Preservation Week.  May 9-15, 2010 is the American’ Library Association’s first Preservation Week.  The theme of preservation week is to save our heritage and memories.  In honor of that event the UAHC will be promoting Be Your Family Archivist.  There will be handouts for both adults and children with helpful tips about preserving your family’s history.

Light refreshments will be provided in the Conrad Hall Lobby.  We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Open House:
101 Conrad Hall
Whitney Miller’s Presentation on Spartan History:
102 Conrad Hall

Please RSVP by May 6 to Mary Patterson or Portia Vescio at 355-2330 or email

UAHC Contributes to CUNY Calendar Project

8 12 2009

This year, the University Archives & Historical Collections at Michigan State University was among more than 100 public colleges and universities in all 50 states that contributed to the 2010 City University of New York’s (CUNY) calendar, website and curriculum project by sharing historic images and milestones from their own past.

Entitled, “Investing in Futures: Public Higher Education in America,” the 2010 calendar project is the sixth such collaboration bringing together CUNY, the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives and The New York Times Knowledge Network, with support provided by founding sponsors JPMorgan Chase and TIAA-CREF.

Visit the Investing In Futures calendar/curricula website:

“We are particularly enthused about this year’s calendar which underscores our country’s historic commitment to advanced learning and the importance of a strong system of public colleges and universities to America’s social and economic well-being,” said Craig Dunn, The New York Times’ Education Partnerships Manager. “Its launch reinforces President Obama’s recent announcement of the American Graduation Initiative and funding for community colleges.”

The University Archives & Historical Collections contributed two photographs to this year’s calendar: one appears on page 8 of the Milestones section (students holding a giant slide rule) and in June, 2010 the month of Campus Life, (female students waiting in line to make a telephone call). The University Archives & Historical Collections are located on the Michigan State University campus in 101 Conrad Hall.

The LaGuardia and Wagner Archives, which produced the calendar, is housed at CUNY’s LaGuardia Community College in Queens, New York. The launch of the 2010 CUNY calendar, website and curriculum was celebrated at a reception on November 11 at The New York Times Conference Center. Dr. Muriel A. Howard, the president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and a double CUNY alumna who earned her A.A. at the New York City College of Technology and her B.A. at the College of Staten Island, praised the calendar project in her remarks.

Archives at AutumnFest

3 11 2009

On Saturday, November 21, the University Archives & Historical Collections will participate in AutumnFest, the annual tailgating party held by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.  The event takes place at the MSU Pavilion for the three and a half hours prior to the Penn State vs. MSU football game.  The actual game time is still TBD, so AutumnFest will be scheduled around that.

The event is for CANR alumni and features a buffet brunch, silent auction, and raffles to raise money for CANR student scholarships, activities, and alumni programming.  The University Archives will be participating in the AutumnFest Passport, so make sure you stop by our booth.  We hope to see you there.

Welcome Classes to the Archives!

8 09 2009

Fall semester 2009 began with a bang for the archives and things don’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.  On Monday, August 31, archivists Sarah Roberts and Portia Vescio participated in the Cultural Engagement Showcase at the Freshman Convocation.  Sarah and Portia chatted with students about what the archives is and handed out postcards to anyone who was interested.  A special shout out goes to the RAs who stopped by the booth!  They were fascinated with the special 1950s postcards that were produced, especially the couples getting in their last kisses before curfew.

This semester the archives is hosting a Freshman Seminar.  The class, From Beanies to Bodypiercings, walks students through the history of student life at MSU.  The class starts in 1855 when the college was founded and will cover events up through recent times.  The class meets in the archives so that students have the opportunity to view and work with the primary sources that are available.  The readings, assignments, and notes will be available through ANGEL and are open to the public for all to view.

Several individual classes are also visiting the archives.  Professors are bringing in their students to learn more about the resources in the archives.  These classes range in topics from the history of Michigan to buildings on campus to the history of photography.  Any faculty member who is interested in having their class visit the archives, please contact Portia Vescio for more information.

Upcoming Events: Ag Expo and Great Dairy Adventure

13 07 2009

The University Archives will participate in two events next week that celebrate MSU’s agricultural heritage.  Ag Expo is on July 21-23 on the MSU Campus in the area north of Mt. Hope near the intersection with Farm Lane.  This year is the 30th anniversary of Ag Expo, which is the state’s largest and longest running outdoor farm show.  The MSU Archives will have a booth in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) tent.  The theme for CANR is “Family Futures,” so the theme for the archives is “Ensuring Family Futures by Preserving Family Pasts.”  Handouts about preserving family history for both children and adults will be available at the booth and archivists will be on hand to consult with people on their preservation and research needs.  On Tuesday, July 21, the MSU Archives will be celebrating its 40th anniversary with free cake in the CANR tent.  The cake will be served at 1:00pm.  For more information you can visit the Ag Expo website.

The Great Dairy Adventure will be on Wednesday, July 22 in the MSU Pavilion.  Focusing on dairy, the Great Dairy Adventure will allow children to pet different breeds of cows, milk a cow, be a milk mustache celebrity and more.  There will also be free dairy treats available.  The booth for the MSU Archives will feature facts about the history of dairying at MSU.  A handout/coloring sheet featuring Belle Sarcastic, a famous MSU dairy cow, will be free to children.

Admission and parking are free for both events.  Directions are available on the Ag Expo website.  The two activities are located near each other and families could easily visit both in one day.  We hope to see you next week!