Special Collections and University Archives

SCUA staff have found that our classes have almost returned to its pre-COVID numbers. Although we are still conducting some online sessions, many professors are choosing to bring their classes to the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University (SCUA). The following are a few examples of the classes that have visited SCUA during the first few months of 2023.

ART 285-01: Photography I, Jill Beaton, Instructor

Professor Jill Beaton brought her Art 285-01 class to SCUA to view the extensive historical camera, photographic image, and stereoscope collection. The class was walked through the display by Interim Head, Kathelene Smith, who also gave a presentation regarding the history of photography. The students then adjourned into the Research Room where they did a document analysis of photographs taken by early faculty member, Dr. Anna Gove, who was also an amateur photographer. The photographs ranged from


SCUA hosted Kelly O’Brien’s Digital Darkroom class, once again focusing on “What is truth.” One of the most collaborative classes that SCUA teaches, Digital Darkroom combines the efforts of ROI Librarian Maggie Murphy and archivists Carolyn Shankle and Kathelene Smith. While Maggie worked with her group in the library, the remaining students were divided into two groups in the Hodges Reading Room and the Research Room. Hodges was divided into multiple stations which featured rare books related to photography and photographers.

The Research Room displays focused on the question “What is truth?” or how multiple perspectives give a more comprehensive understanding of the truth. Each station highlighted artifacts that encouraged students to find a “truth” – and since they were art students, they were asked to either describe or draw what they found. In some cases, this might be illustrated by the difference between a photograph of a student and a painting of her, what first president and college founder Charles Duncan McIver really look like, what Desegregation really look like on our 1950s campus, or perhaps the student perspectives seen in campus scrapbooks as opposed to the administrative perspectives seen in a university publication. The students left the session with a greater understanding of what can be discovered in Special Collections and University Archives!

HIS 430: Historical Methods for Social Studies Teachers, Lisa Tolbert, Instructor

Dr. Lisa Tolbert brought her HIS 430 class to SCUA for several sessions focusing on the history of UNCG as seen through campus scrapbooks. After a review of campus history given by archivist Kathelene McCarty Smith, students took several days to research primary sources relating to the school during the 1920s and 1930s! A special class research guide was created by special collections specialist, Carolyn Shankle.

WGS 250: An Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies, Faye Stewart, Instructor

For this class session, Special Collections Specialist Carolyn Shankle and Accessioning Archivist Suzanne Helms created an overview of zines. The students in Stewart’s class have an upcoming project to create a zine of their own. Helms led a zine-making workshop where she demonstrated two structures for the students to create and explore. She provided materials and hands-on instruction as well as supplies that the student could take with them. Shankle curated a display of zines held in the Rare Books collections, which covered the early years of sci-fi fanzines in the 1940s to zines focused on activism and marginalized groups in the 1950s and 1960s, to music fanzines in the 1970s celebrating the underground punk movement, to those created in the 1980s through 2022.

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