Once more like a dungeon than a collection of artifacts, the University of Missouri-Rolla archives facility in the basement of Curtis Laws Wilson Library was enlarged and renovated this fall. Today, visitors to the archives find a bright, friendly spot to explore campus secrets.
Established on campus in the 1970s, the archives facility was designed to preserve the history of the campus that houses it.
Dr. Diana Ahmad, assistant professor of history and UMR archivist, says her biggest challenge is to spread the word about the archives. "Even though we’ve been here since the 1970s, there are still faculty, staff and alumni who don’t know we exist," Ahmad says.
"We need to spread the word about the archives," adds assistant archivist Melody Lloyd. "Our mission to preserve the history of the campus is both legal and historical." Ahmad and Lloyd encourage UMR faculty, staff and alumni to donate their UMR memorabilia and papers to the archives. The facility also accepts donations from community members, as well, as long as the items are related to the university.
Nothing is too trivial to be of interest to the archives. Items they accept include class rosters, faculty research notes, issues of all pamphlets and other campus publications including the Missouri Miner student newspaper, departmental newsletters and the "MSM-UMR Alumnus" magazine, minutes from committee meetings and departmental files.
In addition, the archives houses several artifacts classified as "ephemera." These include more than 20 years of St. Pat’s sweatshirts, a latch-hooked Joe Miner wall hanging and the original cast of a UMR paperweight designed by a faculty member decades ago.
The UMR Archives is located in Room G-2 of the UMR library, next door to the UMR branch of the Western Historical Manuscript Collection, whose mission is to preserve the history of Phelps County and the surrounding area. While the facility has limited hours, its staff is happy to provide assistance.
For more information about the UMR archives, call the facility at (573) 341-6954 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.