OSU150 celebrates new exhibit

A timeline outlining significant events in Oregon State University’s history from 1887 to 2017.

Oregon Historical Society showcases 150 years of OSU history.

The Oregon Historical Society, in conjunction with the OSU150 celebration program, presents the Oregon State University: A Legacy of Transformation exhibit from Feb. 10 to Sep. 9.

“The exhibit includes 150 stories, photographs and artifacts that tell the history of Oregon State University and how OSU has transformed the state, Oregonians, as well as the nation and world over the past 150 years,” Steve Clark, Vice President of University Relations and Marketing, said in an email.

The OHS exhibit was created in conjunction with the OSU150 program and utilized a few of the materials housed in the Valley Library’s Special Collections and Archives Research Center, according to Director Larry Landis.

“The stories cover the gamut of what makes OSU, OSU—cutting edge research, educational opportunities, athletics, development of the campus, notable alumni and perhaps most importantly, what it means to be a land grant university,” Landis said in an email. “It also addresses difficult issues, such as how we have treated students from underrepresented groups over the years. Everyone who engages with the exhibit will find stories that pique their interests.”

According to Landis, the exhibit features multiple types of media for different kinds of museum guests.

“SCARC contributed historic photos, audio and video clips, especially from our OSU150 oral history project, background historical research and some artifacts,” Landis said via email. “During a walk-through of the exhibit last week, I was very impressed with many of the mural-size reproductions of historic photographs from our collections, as well as how our content was incorporated into the digital centerpiece.”

Additionally, there are several features to the exhibit of note, according to OSU150 Director Shelly Signs.

“They include 150 stories, a digital touch table and an interactive element where you can be a whale and go around the exhibit seeking krill (what whales eat),” Signs said. “When you drop your whale back at the station you can see where you were feeding.”

According to Landis, one of the 150 stories is that of Linus Pauling, an OSU graduate and two-time recipient of the Nobel Prize.

“It is a large exhibit—some folks may want or need to visit it more than once. There is a large section pertaining to renowned scientist Linus Pauling, who graduated from Oregon State in 1922,” Landis said via email. “It includes the original of a love letter from July 1922 that Pauling wrote to his future wife, Ava Helen Miller. That letter is from the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers in SCARC.”

Guests may also experience a slice of retro OSU life using tactile, visual and audio elements, according to Landis.

“There is also a corner area designed to feel like the Memorial Union, complete with an original couch from the MU and a mural-size historic photo of the main lounge,” Landis said in an email. “This area also includes a listening station, where one can hear vintage recordings of the fight song and alma mater.”

The exhibit is expected to attract thousands of visitors over the seven months it is open, according to Clark.

“The exhibit will serve to attract more than 40,000 visitors to learn more about OSU and engage with the university,” Clark said in an email. “During the summer, we will have several traveling OSU history exhibits traveling the state to visit many of Oregon’s 36 counties.”

According to Clark, after the exhibit closes, different pieces will be distributed to various OSU-affiliated campuses such as Bend and Newport.

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