Archives Intern mounts exhibit on the history of Wonderful Wednesday

Written by Larrun Maynor (’19) and Katherine Banks

A new exhibit has been installed in the Welshimer Library with items from the Holloway Archives. Larrun Maynor, Class of 2019, has curated the exhibit as part of her archives internship with the Holloway Archives.

Larrun Maynor (’19) with the exhibit.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Wonderful Wednesday. Wonderful Wednesday is a day that most, if not all, Milligan students look forward to in their spring semester. It’s a day shrouded in mystery, however, since only a handful of people know the actual date it will take place and these are sworn to secrecy. This annual tradition began on April 30, 1969. President Jess Johnson made a declaration on the Seeger Chapel steps that there would be no classes for the day and that students instead could “hearken to the opportunities for food, fun, and fellowship.” Activities in the early years included discussion panels, picnics, softball games, and folk dancing. In the later years, activities such as races up and down Sutton Hill, Jell-O wrestling, and tug-of-war over the creek became popular. One tradition that has remained a crowd favorite is the waterslide. The exhibit highlights many of these activities through photos, yearbooks, and other documents.

1984 Wonderful Wednesday activities

When asked about her experience while doing research, Larrun replied, “I truly enjoyed searching through the archives to find the different images and documents that are being displayed in this exhibit. There were so many fun pictures to choose from, especially in the yearbooks.”

Katherine (Katie) Banks, the college archivist and internship supervisor, says, “I hope that Milligan students and faculty alike will drop by to see the history of this surprise holiday. Larrun has picked out some great items to show the day’s history. Visitors might be surprised to see how much the holiday has changed since 1969!”

You can also view parts of the exhibit online through MCStor, Milligan College’s digital repository.

Milligan’s Archive Internship opportunity

Each fall semester, students are invited to apply for one volunteer Archive Internship opportunity at The Holloway Archives at Milligan College. The internship begins the following spring semester. All majors are welcome to apply. Please stay tuned for announcements coming this fall.

Have a Milligan history question? Contact the archivist here.
Find out more about Milligan’s archives here.
Find us on Twitter at #MilliganArchives

First “Escape from Welshimer” event a breakout success!

Wikipedia defines an escape room as “a physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategy to complete the objectives at hand.” Escape rooms have become a popular form of entertainment in the 2010s, developed from and often incorporating elements from long familiar group activities such as scavenger hunts and haunted houses.

Inspired by a presentation at Mars Hill University (North Carolina) where the escape room concept was used as a first-year student experience to instruct about the library, Research and Instruction Librarian Mary Jackson sought to develop a similar experience here at Milligan College but open it to all students, faculty, staff, and their families. “It is difficult to educate faculty, staff and students about some of the more unique aspects of the library and its collections,” says Jackson. “Students really enjoy having faculty participate with them at campus events. The escape room would allow the library staff to educate and interact with participants, including faculty, staff and students in a fun and entertaining way.”

Escape from Welshimer was the result. The event was held in the evening on Friday, January 18 at the P.H. Welshimer Memorial Library. Advanced signups were encouraged as news of the event was posted on campus bulletin boards, Milligan Libraries’ social media channels, and Milligan Today. 51 participants, which included 34 undergraduate students, 3 graduate students, 10 faculty/staff adults, and 4 children, were divided into 11 groups of 4 or 5 persons arrayed at tables on the main floor of the library supplied with a large packet of items, a laptop computer, and a locked wooden treasure chest. Each group was given a challenge to identify a Milligan College personage and several popular culture references from either the 1970s, 80s, or 90s using Welshimer Library books, media, and archival materials.

The challenges required each group to move throughout the building to collect items, respond to clues, and solve puzzles that would enable them to successfully unlock their treasure chests. Inside the chests were custom created Escape from Welshimer buttons, Milligan Buffalo stickers, and prize redemption coupons. As each group successfully completed their challenge, they were directed to the circulation desk where each person was asked to fill out a brief survey of their experience. They could then use their coupon to receive either a full-size candy bar or (especially popular) Airheads Xtremes as a prize.

As a final activity, group photos were taken to document the event. Everyone successfully “escaped” in under an hour’s time.

Based on survey results, Escape from Welshimer was a breakout success. One participant, sophomore student Audrey Johns said, “It was really fun. I liked solving the puzzles. What an inventive way to learn where things are located in the library!” Mary Jackson added, “The best part was seeing everyone having so much fun moving around the library, working together with friends, and just having a great time. I think it says a lot that several people said the only negative was that it was too short. That is success in my book.”

All Welshimer Library staff were involved in making this event a success through brainstorming, offering feedback, and providing advanced testing. But special shout-outs go to Research and Instruction Librarian Mary Jackson for carrying the lion’s share of planning and logistics, User Services Librarian Jude Morrissey for creating the wonderful event graphics, and Archivist Katie Banks for constructing the buttons and serving as event photographer. Director of Libraries Gary Daught strongly endorsed this event. He was (is!) appreciative of the brilliant creativity and hard work of his library colleagues, and very pleased by the turn-out. “Events like this highlight Milligan Libraries’ active engagement with our learning community. We want to be known by students and faculty as skilled academic professionals who are both competent and trustworthy. But we also want to be known as real people who are approachable and like to have fun. I think the latter serves and strengthens the former. We are looking forward to doing another library escape room in the future.”

Materials and prizes were paid for from an IDEO Grant that Milligan Libraries received from the Bowen Central Library of Appalachia at the Appalachian College Association (ACA). The IDEO, or Innovation & Enrichment Development Opportunities Grant is designed “to assist libraries in partnering with campus constituencies in creative and innovative ways for [the] campus to expand knowledge about library services.” Milligan Libraries thanks the ACA for this award that helped make Escape from Welshimer possible.

Holloway Archives Mounts New Archives Exhibit for Fall 2018

The Holloway Archives has installed a new exhibit for Fall 2018. “We Must Rebuild”: Milligan College’s Fire of 1918 focuses on the Milligan of one hundred years ago and the devastating fire that changed the college. “When I realized that it was exactly one hundred years since this pivotal event in Milligan’s history, I thought it would make a interesting exhibit,” says archivist Katie Banks. “While researching for the exhibit, I found some really fascinating items.”

The exhibit displays what Milligan College was like a hundred years ago. Henry J. Derthick had been president for about a year, and the campus was almost unrecognizable from what it is today. The Great War had also affected the school, including the introduction of the Student Army Training Corps, a program to train men to be officers while living on campus and attending the host institution. Just days after the war ended, the Administration Building–the main college building–burned, leaving students homeless and the college without its records, teaching materials, library, and classrooms. But through the perseverance and hard work of President Derthick, the college recovered and flourished with new buildings and improvements, including a new Administration Building–renamed years later as Derthick Hall.

The old Administration Building after the fire, circa 1918

This story is told through items such as photos, letters, and student publications. One item is a letter from Herbert Hoover, dated October 21, 1918, at the time representing the United States Food Administration, asking the college to help in a food conservation program. Another interesting item is a brick recovered during more recent Derthick Hall renovations believed to be from the old Administration Building that burned. The most sentimental item in the exhibit is a letter from President Derthick to Josephus Hopwood expressing his thoughts about the fire. “Milligan has been the object of your love for so long a time that I know you are deeply moved over the loss. We must rebuild and in a very large way. Your child must accomplish even greater things in the future than she has in the past.” [Derthick to Hopwood, 1918 November 19, Hopwood Correspondence, The Holloway Archives at Milligan College, Milligan College, TN] These lines reveal Derthick’s ambition to keep the college going and even strengthen it, which he ultimately would do.

Detail of the exhibit showing a brick believed to be from the old Administration Building.

Be sure to come check out this exhibit on the first floor of the Welshimer Library! Library hours are Monday-Thursday 7:45 AM-Midnight, Friday 7:45 AM-5:00 PM, Saturday 11:00 AM-5:00 PM, and Sunday 2:00 PM-Midnight. You can also view other portions of the exhibit in MCStor, Milligan College’s institutional repository.

If you would like to know more about Milligan’s history, set up an appointment with archivist Katie Banks to visit The Holloway Archives!

Milligan Libraries Hosts Book Art Workshop

On Tuesday, October 16, Welshimer Library hosted our first-ever book art workshop!

Later this month, we’ll have our Sixth Annual Book+Art Exhibit, when we showcase works of art created from old books that need a new life by Milligan students, faculty, staff, and community members. This year, we coordinated with Dr. Jil Smith (Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy, skilled book artist, and frequent Book+Art exhibitor) to hold a drop-in workshop for those interested in learning how to turn books that have outlived their usefulness or been literally loved to pieces into something new. Dr. Joy Drinnon (Professor of Psychology, Director of Undergraduate Research, accomplished book artist, and inveterate Book+Art exhibitor) joined with Dr. Smith in providing suggestions and teaching techniques to bring their visions to life.

All materials were provided, and workshop participants were encouraged to think of way to incorporate various parts of the books, as well as other materials, to make something interesting.

We hope to see these creations and more in our Sixth Annual Book+Art Exhibit, which will be held, as usual, during Homecoming Weekend, October 26-28, at Welshimer Library. All are invited to participate – both to create something new and to come to see what others have made.

 

 

Buffs, Buttons & Brownies at Your Library!

“What?! They’re not doing The Game this year? How are we going to get new students into Welshimer Library to meet staff, and learn about our spaces and services?” That was the initial reaction of librarians to changes to the new student orientation day resulting from this year’s later start of the school year.

The Game, which had new students running around campus in small groups to visit various buildings was an ideal way for library staff to showcase the Welshimer Library. “Participating in The Game as a regular stop along the way was a simple and fun way for us to get new students into the library building right away,” says Director of Libraries Gary Daught. “By removing some of that initial intimidation and creating a positive impression of the library for new students through this event, we were fairly certain they would come to make the library a regular study spot during the school year.” With the loss of The Game to provide that early introduction, the library staff knew they needed to get creative and find an alternative.

As it happens, Daught had read an article in a library publication over the summer about a university library that teamed-up with their university archives to create a pop-up button-making space as a library outreach event. That was the answer! “We could combine a button-making space, with a self-guided tour of the Welshimer Library building, and pans of Instruction Librarian Mary Jackson’s famous brownies. The name for our new event presented itself almost immediately–Buffs, Buttons & Brownies!

The event was held during the day on Monday, August 27 from 9 am to 4 pm. By all accounts Buffs, Buttons & Brownies! was a success, with over 90 buttons made (the pop-up space continues into Tuesday) and nearly 200 brownies consumed! Mary Jackson expressed well the very positive take-away from the day: “It was a really fun event that gave us a chance to meet and connect with many new students and reacquaint ourselves with returning students. The self-guided tour was low-key and helped students familiarize themselves with the library building and staff. Everyone was very excited for the chance to make a button.” (Picture choices for the buttons were selected by College Archivist Katie Banks from archival holdings.)

Special thanks to Mary Jackson for the delicious brownies, and to Professor John Jackson for lending us his button maker. “I think this could easily become a new regular event for Welshimer Library,” says Daught. “Though I suppose we should probably buy our own button maker.”