Among homecoming football games, parades and parties, a visit to an academic library may not seem like a typical part of an event-packed weekend. But at Ohio University, that’s not the case.
Each year, the Libraries hosts a Homecoming exhibit featuring 19 tables full of OHIO’s original and primary historic materials, which help tell the 213-year-old story of the University.
The exhibit will run from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 4-6 and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 7 on the fourth floor of Alden Library.
“As usual, we look for a good turn-out of alumni and present-day students alike, and we hope that by opening the display as early as Wednesday of Homecoming Week we will give more people the opportunity to visit,” said Bill Kimok, University archivist and records manager.
Included in this year’s exhibit will be historic maps, sports programs, yearbooks, scrapbooks and student publications, to name a few. Because the archives hold all manners of University records, it is only natural for the Libraries to take part in the memorable weekend.
“…it is important for the University Archives to participate in Homecoming because we consider ourselves the be the repository for the corporate memory, so to speak,” said Kimok.
His reward for weeks of planning, several hours of setting up tables, hanging posters and arranging slides? Simply watching alumni, staff and students enjoy the collection.
“Sometimes [alumni] walk their families through their time here as students by showing them various materials that relate to those times,” Kimok said. “Sometimes they come in as couples who perhaps met on campus, and they are now reliving their time as students by seeing materials that remind them of those times. Sometimes they come in by themselves, and I can watch them picking up various items and smiling as though they are recalling an event or a moment or a special person.”
While he enjoys watching, Kimok also looks forward to sharing his knowledge of the collection with alumni and learning new stories each year.
“Often they call me over to the display and ask me about the background of items just to jog their memories,” Kimok said. “It is interesting listening to them as they observe the materials from a perspective of being 20 or 30 years removed from their time here as students.”