Words of Comfort: An exhibit of letters from around the world in the April 16th Condolence Archives

Things have been busy in the University Archives of Special Collections this month, with two exhibits going up this and next week. The first is the memorial exhibit honoring the memory of the victims and survivors of the tragic day of April 16, 2007. Every year we commemorate that day with an exhibit of items from the April 16th Condolence Archives. Please read the press release below to find out more about this year’s event.

The second is an update to the Virginia Tech Alumni Association’s (VTAA) Alumni Museum, with whom Special Collections has worked for over a decade to provide university memorabilia for display. Several archivists and students have been selecting items to update the current display, which will be installed next week. There is no end date for the display of these items, as we plan to continue to working with the VTAA for years to come. Also, if you are attending next weekend’s Black Alumni Reunion, you will get to see several additional photographs from the university archives of many pioneering black female students and alumnae at Virginia Tech, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the first six black women to attend the university in 1966: Linda (Adams) Hoyle, Jackie (Butler) Blackwell, Linda (Edmonds) Turner, Freddie Hairston, Marguerite Laurette (Harper) Scott, and Chiquita Hudson. You can learn more about them at The Black Women at Virginia Tech History Project.

Words of Comfort: An exhibit of letters from around the world in the April 16th Condolence Archives

Day of Remembrance display in Newman Library shares words of comfort and hope

Following April 16, 2007, schools, fellow universities, children, community and religious groups, businesses, and other individuals from around the world sent words of comfort and hope to Virginia Tech. These cards, letters, signs, and other handwritten items expressed the world’s condolences and gave Virginia Tech a global community of support.

This week, on April 15-16, many of these items will be on display in the Multipurpose Room on the first floor of Newman Library at 560 Drillfield Drive in Blacksburg. The exhibit, “Words of Comfort: An exhibit of letters from around the world in the April 16th Condolence Archives,” is free and open to the public, and will be on display from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

These items represent over 40 countries and every continent, showing the outpouring of support from around the globe. Selected items on display include:

The materials are part of the Virginia Tech April 16, 2007 Condolence Archives of the University Libraries.

Campus visitors also left symbols of comfort and signs of support at memorials around Virginia Tech, which were displayed on campus for several months before being gathered and inventoried under the direction of University Archivist Tamara Kennelly. Together, the collection consists of more than 89,000 materials available through Special Collections in Newman Library.

In the summer of 2007, many items were digitally photographed for preservation and to share with the world. A large portion of the Condolence Archives of the University Libraries is now publicly available online.

The upcoming exhibit is organized and curated by Laurel Rozema, processing and special projects archivist for the University Libraries’ Special Collections, and Robin Boucher, arts program director for Student Engagement and Campus Life.

Free parking is available on weekends at the Squires Student Center and Architecture Annex lots along Otey Street. Before 5 p.m. on weekdays, a valid Virginia Tech parking pass is required to park in these lots. Find more parking information online, or call 540-231-3200.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Laurel Rozema at 540-231-9215 during regular business hours prior to the event.

For more information and other expressions of remembrance, please visit the We Remember site.

 

Upcoming Events: Montgomery County Memory Project: People, Places, and Things of Montgomery County

The Montgomery County Memory Project: People, Places, and Things of Montgomery County, Virginia seeks to uncover local treasures hidden in corners of family homes, making connections within and among people in the community.

With the support of the Montgomery Museum and Lewis Miller Regional Art Center, the University Libraries at Virginia Tech, and the Christiansburg Library, along with a Common Heritage grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Samantha Parish Riggin organized a series of events for the Montgomery County community.

These events will educate the public about preservation and identification of artifacts, documents, manuscripts, and photographs while offering the opportunity to digitize them. Creating digital versions of family items will give visitors the opportunity to preserve items that may not withstand time so their families can have permanent digital keepsakes. The Memory Project events may also lead to discoveries that enrich Montgomery County history as well as visitors’ own family histories.

There are several events associated with the project:

  • A talk by Samantha Parish Riggin, “Antique Speak,” on April 10th from 2-4pm at the Christiansburg branch of the Montgomery-Floyd Public Library
  • Digitization day, April 23rd from 10am-2pm, Community Room at the Christiansburg branch of the Montgomery-Floyd Public Library
  • Digitization day, April 30th from 10am-2pm, Multipurpose Room on the ground floor of Newman Library at Virginia Tech
  • A talk by by Spencer Slough later in the summer, based on some of the items digitized at events in April. More information will be forthcoming in the future.

 

WVTF ran a story over the weekend that includes an interview with the project’s director, Samantha Parish Riggin. as well as some additional information. You can read the article and listen to the story online. Questions may be directed to the Samantha Parish Riggin, Program Director for The Montgomery Country Memory Project at 724-493-0750.

Two Upcoming Events!

If you’re in or around Blacksburg, there are two upcoming events you may want to know about! On March 24, 2014, the University Libraries is co-hosting the Third Annual Edible Book Contest with the Blacksburg branch of the Montgomery-Floyd Public Libraries. There’s still plenty of time to register for the event (and we won’t turn you away at the door, either). You can visit the website to find out more and sign up: http://tinyurl.com/AEBC2014. Even if you don’t want to enter, please come to the Blacksburg Public Library from 6-7pm on March 24th. It’s your votes that will help us determine the winners in each category!

3rd Edible Book Contest

And, on March 25th from 5-7pm, the University Libraries will be hosting the Second Annual Appalanche. Appalanche is a celebration of Appalachian culture. This year, the event will include music and food, as well as displays and information about wildflowers, quilting, apples, the Wilderness Road Museum, and more! Be sure to stop by and visit us on the first floor of Newman Library that evening!

Appalanche2014digitalsign

Special Collections Open House, October 1st!

Did you miss our Special Collections Open House on September 3rd? Don’t worry–you have three more chances to join us! Our next event is on Tuesday, October 1, from 5-7pm. You’ll have a chance to view a variety of materials from our collections, talk with an archivist (or two or three!), ask questions about what we do, learn about how we can help with personal and professional research, and even take a behind the scenes tour!

Here’s a few things you might see if you stop by:

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We’ll also display items from the University Archives, the International Archives of Women in Architecture, and maybe even a few speculative fiction magazines.

If you can’t join us in October, we’ll have two more open houses this semester: November 5th and December 2nd (both Tuesdays and both from 5-7pm), so be sure to mark your calendar. See you soon!

Grief and Remembrance

It is often true that in our experience of sorrow we discover ourselves to be part of larger communities than we had first realized. Our grief resonates with others and our shared humanity becomes manifest in expressions of common feeling and support—first as condolence, and later as remembrance.

In the days and weeks following the events of April 16, 2007, Virginia Tech received over 89,000 cards and letters of support, posters, banners, art, poetry, wreaths, memory books, and other unique items from around the world. Campus visitors often left items at the Drillfield memorial.  These were displayed on the Virginia Tech campus for several months before being gathered and inventoried to create the “Virginia Tech April 16, 2007, Archives of the University Libraries.” The collection consists of over 500 cubic feet of materials available to researchers through University Libraries’ Special Collections.  (The finding aid for the collection is available here.)

This year, as part of Virginia Tech’s remembrance of the April 16, 2007 shootings, an art exhibit of items from the Condolence Archive will be installed in the Special Collections reading room on the first floor of Newman Library from April 13 – 16.

The exhibit, Never Forgotten: A Remembrance Art Exhibit from the April 16 Condolence Archives, is curated by Robin Scully Boucher, art director of Squires Perspective Gallery, and includes some works that have not been publicly shown before.

Hours of the exhibit:

  • April 13: 9:00am – 4:00pm
  • April 14: 1:00pm – 4:00pm
  • April 15: 8:00am – 5:00pm
  • April 16: 8:00am – 5:00pm

A reception will be held April 16 from 2:00pm to 3:00pm

The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Tamara Kennelly at 540-231-9214.

We hope you will come by Special Collections to see this selection of the tremendous outpouring of support and love extended to the Virginia Tech community in its time of grief.

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