New history portal explores stories of U-M’s varied past | Arts & Culture

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New history portal explores stories of U-M’s varied past

New history portal explores stories of U-M’s varied past

Photo from Robert Kalmbach's photo collection, courtesy of the U-M Bentley Historical Library.

A doorway to the University of Michigan’s past is wide open with the launch of a new history portal that leads to stories, exhibits, videos and more.

With the university now in its third century, the History of U-M site is an essential resource for exploring U-M’s impact throughout the decades, said Gary D. Krenz, director of post-bicentennial planning at the Bentley Historical Library.

“We want to make U-M’s past as accessible as possible,” he said. “With a history that dates to 1817, our stories are abundant, varied and often complex. We’re excited to share so many different aspects of the institution’s legacy.”

Historical resources and archival materials are important tools not only for understanding U-M’s past accomplishments and challenges but also for engaging with current events and shaping the university’s future, Krenz said.

While the Bentley is sponsoring the site, it also draws on primary sources, databases, multimedia resources, e-books and narratives from schools, colleges and units across campus.

“We are pleased to bring together all this content in one online location,” Krenz said. “We hope it encourages further analyses and deeper storytelling about who we are as a university.”

One feature of the site is the Encyclopedic Survey, with hundreds of entries about the founding and growth of academic departments, schools, colleges, and presidential administrations.

The original four-volume survey began in 1937 with more than 400 articles. Updates and three additional volumes were added up until the 1970s. As part of U-M’s bicentennial in 2017, the survey was expanded to include the histories of many units that did not exist when the publication was first produced.

Today, all of the Encyclopedic Survey’s entries are online and searchable. “It’s an excellent starting point for anyone interested in examining U-M’s evolution,” Krenz said.

Other features of the site include:

  • Oral histories, such as the recollections of African-American student-athletes through the years.
  • Videos such as the series, “An Uncommon Education,” co-produced by U-M and Detroit Public Television for the bicentennial.
  • Timelines and histories from schools, colleges, and institutes.
  • Digital exhibits assembled by faculty, students, staff and others that provide a visual journey of U-M’s past.
  • Performances and artistic interpretations that explore people and episodes throughout campus history.
  • Symposia and lectures, including an array of talks and panel discussions with scholars from U-M and beyond.

U-M History Lecture Series

As part of the initiative to make U-M’s past more accessible, the Bentley Historical Library has paired the launch of the new website with a new lecture series that will celebrate, investigate and reflect upon U-M’s remarkable history. The following lectures will take place at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, 1000 Beal Avenue, on U-M’s North Campus.

Thursday, Dec.12, 2019; 7:00 p.m.

Lecture: “We must work off our surplus animal spirits”: 19th-century Origins of Athletic Competition at the University of Michigan

Gregory T. Kinney, Athletics Archivist, Bentley Historical Library
Brian Williams, Assistant Director and Archivist for University History, Bentley Historical Library

Location: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, 1000 Beal Avenue, on U-M’s North Campus.

Thursday, Jan. 23; 2020; 7:00 p.m.

Lecture: Telling the Truth About the Liberal Arts: Histories and Futures

Terrence J. McDonald, Director, Bentley Historical Library; Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Professor of History, College of Literature, Science & the Arts

Location: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, 1000 Beal Avenue, on U-M’s North Campus.

Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020; 7:00 p.m.

Lecture: “Almost without Money and without Price to Every Young Man and Every Young Woman”: The Admission of Women to the University of Michigan (recognizing the 150th anniversary of women’s admission to U-M)

Andrea L. Turpin, Associate Professor of History, Baylor University, and author of A New Moral Vision: Gender, Religion, and the Changing Purposes of American Higher Education, 1837-1917

Location: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, 1000 Beal Avenue, on U-M’s North Campus.

Thursday, March 19, 2020; 7:00 p.m.

Lecture: “Hail!”—Harmony and Dissonance in the University of Michigan’s Campus Songs

Mark A. Clague, Associate Professor of Music and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs, School of Music, Theatre & Dance

Location: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, 1000 Beal Avenue, on U-M’s North Campus.

Thursday, April 9, 2020; 7:00 p.m.

Lecture: “Schools and the Means of Education” (Remixed): The Black Action Movement and the Origins of the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies (recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Black Action Movement)

Stephen M. Ward, Associate Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies and Associate Professor in the Residential College, College of Literature, Science, & the Arts

Location: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, 1000 Beal Avenue, on U-M’s North Campus.

Please contact Gary Krenz with any questions at gdkrenz@umich.edu or 734.764.3639.