Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Groundbreaking for WMU Archives

You can expect to see some heavy equipment rumbling along Oakland drive starting next week. The groundbreaking for the new Legacy Collections Center is set for Thursday, July 19 at 10:30 a.m. and site preparations will begin the week of July 23rd. The footings for the 16,000 sq. ft., $8.3 million building will be poured during August. If everything goes according to schedule, the building will be closed in by winter and opened to the public in the summer of 2013. [1]

The Legacy Collections Center will house material from the WMU Archives and Regional History Collections, currently located in East Hall, in addition to overflow items from the University Libraries. The WMU Archives' documents currently located off-site will also be transferred into the Legacy Collections Center. In total, the new building is expected to hold more than 28,000 cubic feet of materials. The two-story storage area will be equipped with 30-foot tall compact shelving. [1]

The reading room in the new facility will include tables and seating for 24 as well as 1250 linear feet of shelving. This space can also be converted into a 72-seat space suitable for lectures. [1]

The East Hall location is visited annually by more than 1800 people interested in conducting genealogical and historical research. With a new climate-controlled facility and “ample public parking just steps away” I can only imagine that traffic will increase. [1] In addition, having all of the materials located in a single location will make things easier for both staff and patrons who will no longer have to wait days for items to be retrieved from off-site.

Amid the excitement over the new building, the staff of the WMU Archives has been quite busy lately. Packing began within a short time of the announcement of the new facility, even as they anticipated the arrival of documents from the Kalamazoo Gazette archive. Six truckloads and three days were required to transport the boxes of photos, negatives, clippings, bound newspapers, etc. to their new, albeit temporary, home. The cataloging of this vast collection began almost as soon as it arrived. Curator, Lynn Houghton, believes that the newspaper clippings will become available to the public sometime in the fall term. This collection contains “articles about individuals, events and organizations,” spanning the 1930s to the 1990s. [2]
For more information on the acquisition of the Kalamazoo Gazette archives, see my post:  WMU Archives' Big News

  1. Roland, Cheryl. WMU to break ground for Legacy collections building. 7-12-2012. WMU news. 
  2. Davis, Paula M. WMU preparing Kalamazoo newspaper archive for public use. 7-12-2012. WMU news. 

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