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Campus archives relocating, expanding

October 2, 2008

Plans to move the area research center and University archives have been put into motion as Head Archivist Alyson Jones and Dale Braun of campus planning will consult an architect over the next several weeks.

The new archives are going to be located in the Davee Library basement where textbook services used to be. If all goes well, demolitions and renovations will begin March 2009.  According to Jones, planners need to nail down the particulars before anything can start. 

According to campus planner Dale Braun, the motivation behind the move is the need of a new server room for UW-River Falls’ information technology services. It was deemed that the current archive room would be the ideal location. This necessity is what actually moved textbook services to Hagestad Hall and made its former location vacant in the first place. Braun also commented on how the new space will be beneficial for the archives saying “The nature of archives is they always grow.”

The extra space afforded by the new location is expected to bring multiple improvements to the archives, the most basic being more room to effectively maintain and easily organize archive materials. Other improvements include designated spaces to better host classes and new areas to display artifacts the archives have accrued over the years such as a World War I uniform, rare books, china and even a Freddy Falcon outfit from the 1970s. 

There are also plans to install a new HVAC system to better control air conditions in order to create the ideal atmosphere for preserving some of the more delicate items in the collection.

The archives are currently located in the far back of the Library’s first floor. Jones acknowledged that the current location of the facility is likely a contributing factor to the archives not getting too much traffic from the student body. 

“Not too many people know we’re here, but when they find us, they usually never want to leave,” Jones said.

Unlike the small room tucked in the back of the first floor, the new archives will be in a more prominent area in the Library.

“I hope because of this new location that more students accidentally discover us,” Jones said.

The River Falls area research center and University archives is one of fourteen such facilities found throughout the state of Wisconsin. The function of the facility is twofold. The first is to offer students and the public access to its collection of items such as newspapers, photographs, public records, manuscripts and other such documentation.  The archives collect data from Burnett, Polk, St. Croix and Pierce Counties. 

The second, a function that has been performed since 1874, is to collect historical records of UWRF. This includes yearbooks, course catalogs, departmental and administrative records, master theses and other similar documents.

During the move to the new room, the archives are expected to go through two or three different renovations. The expected month of completion is September 2009.