LSU’s Hill Memorial Library to Host “STEM and Beyond” Open House Event Oct. 7

09/17/2014 02:50 PM

BATON ROUGE – LSU Libraries Special Collections will host an open house event on Tuesday, Oct. 7, from 3-6 p.m. Located in Hill Memorial Library, this event is an opportunity to meet the staff, see some fantastic and interesting items from the collections and hear about the types of activities that go on in the multi-faceted library.


The theme for this year’s open house is “STEM and Beyond,” and will feature rare and unique materials that relate to the STEM disciplines – science, technology, engineering and mathematics.


“Though the focus is on the STEM disciplines, there will be something for everyone,” said Head of Special Collections Jessica Lacher-Feldman. “Our oldest photograph, a daguerreotype image of Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ wife Varina Davis from the late 1840s or early 1850s, will be on display. It represents a huge technological breakthrough of its time, where chemistry, art and technology met.”


Hill Memorial Library is home to more than 5,000 manuscript collections and thousands of rare books. The holdings represent human history, as well as the history and culture of Louisiana and the Lower Mississippi Valley.


One item that will be highlighted during the open house is a relatively new acquisition, “Institutiones Geometricae of Albrecht Dürer,” widely considered to be the most important works of the artistic Renaissance in Northern Europe. Divided into four parts, the first two focus on linear and two-dimensional geometry. In the third, Dürer discusses how these principles can be applied to architecture, engineering, painting and type design. The final section tackles linear perspective, or how to accurately represent a three-dimensional scene on a flat canvas or piece of paper – one of the great developments of Renaissance art. It was Dürer, in large part, who helped spread this concept from Italy to the rest of Europe, an important step down the long road that has now brought us to 3-D computer graphics.


The event will also feature demonstrations of some of the work of the Special Collections staff, including minor conservation work such as making enclosures; processing, cataloging, digitizing and microfilming. There will also be information on and the demonstration of projects and areas in Special Collections or those related to Special Collections. These include the T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History, the Civil War Book Review, two important grant projects relating to digitizing newspapers and the collaborative NEH grant to digitize materials relating to Louisiana’s Free People of Color.


The open house will also showcase some interesting rare items and allow for the opportunity to speak with curators, subject specialists and other staff about how the Special Collections materials can help further research and scholarship at every level.  


“Special Collections is open to all. This library is here for everyone, and we welcome everyone to come and take advantage of the resources available in Hill,” Lacher-Feldman said. “An open house is a fun way to share some interesting things about the collections and the work that we do in a new way. It’s a great opportunity to engage users and potential users in a casual way. I feel it’s important to know that you don’t always need a reason or need to see something specific to visit Special Collections. Come in, look around and talk to us. I am looking forward to meeting people from across campus and the community and hope it will spark further interest in using the collections for research, projects and in creative and new ways.”


The open house event is held in conjunction with the celebration of American Archives Month, a national celebration of the power and significance of archives.


In addition to the collections, projects, and processes, there will be two exhibits on display in Hill’s gallery areas, both of which touch upon the STEM disciplines.


“The Greater University: LSU Agricultural and Mechanical College” features historical documents and photographs that tell the story of LSU’s expansion and move to the present campus from downtown Baton Rouge in 1926. Materials are drawn from the University Archives, housed in LSU Libraries Special Collections. This is an opportunity for incoming students to learn about the history of LSU and the resources available for research at Hill Memorial Library, and to view some of the university’s treasures up close.


Opening on Sept. 22 is a related exhibition, “Cooperative Extension at LSU: Commemorating the Centennial of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914.” This exhibition tells the story of cooperative extension at LSU through photographs, oral histories, published materials, manuscript and archival records, rare books and ephemera from every major collection in Special Collections. Selected items highlight the diverse experiences of Louisianans over the past century in rural and urban regions, from a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds.


For more information about the open house or about LSU Libraries Special Collections, contact Jessica Lacher-Feldman at (225) 578-6544 or email





Contact Aaron Looney
LSU Media Relations

Posted on Wednesday, September 17, 2014