In the atrium of the Merrill Cazier Library, the story of Utah State is being told through the history of its buildings. The new exhibit is the brainchild of Cory Patton, a USU history major. The library received fellowship money to hire a student worker in charge of opening the exhibit. Patton applied and received the position to be the curator for this exhibit.
“This has been in the works for two years. I did the research, the writing, and gathered all the documents. It took us six months to complete this process” said Patton.
USU has undergone 130 years of growth and development. The exhibit features a timeline on the outside walls. The timeline goes year by year to highlight buildings and new additions to campus. It also gives insight to USU’s military history while highlighting students facilities, housing, and sports facilities of the past.
One story being told by the exhibit is A-Day. A-Day was a tradition when the student body was much smaller. It was a required day of mandatory service by the students. They would work on projects such as planting trees or building sidewalks. Some students would try to skip out on this day, and Staff would have other groups of students act as patrol squads to stop the skipping.
“I thought this was a super interesting story and I can’t imagine this happening today. It is actually how the sidewalks on the quad were built,” Patton said.
Artifacts on display at the exhibit include: An Old Main cornerstone time capsule, a 1917 ROTC military uniform cap, a 1927 souvenir program from the Thanksgiving football game against the University of Utah, a 1900’s pennant, campus guides from every decade, a 3D model of Old Main, and much more.
“All of the material in the exhibit is held in the special collections and archives in the library. It houses all university records and rare books from Cache Valley and around the world,” Patton said.
Along with the grand opening of the exhibit, guest speaker Martha Bradley Evans held a lecture in the library. Evans is currently a professor at the University of Utah. She specializes in Architecture and Planning. Her research in Utah is based on spatial religious communities and their building. While speaking at the exhibit opening she touched on USU campus architecture and architecture in Cache Valley.
“From the very beginning USU architecture has reflected national trends. There has been a long tradition of campus architecture. Old Main has always been the key landmark on campus. You always come back to Old Main,” Evans said.
Shawn Christiansen, freshman, attended the exhibit opening.
“I thought it was interesting that many of the buildings around the quad were used to house soldiers. I didn’t know that. It is neat to see how the campus came to be,” Christiansen said.
The exhibit will be on display in the library atrium until March 30th. The exhibit can also be viewed online at exhibits.usu.edu/exhibits/show/builtenvironment
“USU is always changing. These cool old buildings aren’t here or are forgotten. There is a lot of cool history that can be forgotten. You will be able to appreciate the history of campus and the buildings that you go to class in every day,” Patton said.