Author: sylvia

Campus Archaeology at MSU’s Science Festival

Campus Archaeology at MSU’s Science Festival

This year, Michigan State University will hold its first ever Science Festival (http://sciencefestival.msu.edu/)!  This 10-day celebration of all things science will be held on campus from April 12 – 21st, 2013 and will include lectures, hands-on activities, excursions, demonstrations, tours, and other platforms of engagement 

Researching Historic MSU Dissertations

Researching Historic MSU Dissertations

This semester, I have been searching the MSU Library for resources that would potentially be useful to the Campus Archaeology Program.  I have been working on creating a database that contains a list of Michigan State University theses and dissertations of which some aspect of 

Fact Checking the Rumor Mill

Fact Checking the Rumor Mill

Sideboard rumored to have belonged to President Hannah, Photo by S Deskaj

A few weeks ago, Kat Cooper from the MSU Union asked us to come in and take a lot at several pieces of furniture that are currently located in the Union’s Spartan Spirit Shop.  What is so significant about these three pieces of furniture?  Rumor has it that they once belonged to former MSU President John A. Hannah – if true, the furniture would contribute to MSU’s exciting past!  I took several photos and headed out to the MSU Archives, where I carefully looked through countless photos of President Hannah taken throughout the course of his 28-year tenure.

Cupboard rumored to have belonged to President Hannah, Photo by S. Deskaj

Admittedly, I knew very little about President Hannah prior to my trip to the MSU Archives, but after looking through photos of him and his wife Sarah Shaw (daughter of Robert Shaw – former MSU President), I was able to piece together some of their life stories.  Some cool things I learned about them include: on the wall above President Hannah’s desk, he kept a photo of U.S. President Abe Lincoln; Sarah received a Master’s degree here at MSU.  Usually referred to as “Mrs. John A. Hannah,” I was surprised to learn about Sarah, particularly since the goal was to search for and identify pieces of furniture!  Her many scrapbooks revealed personal items from her life – such as pressed flowers from her wedding and local newspaper clippings announcing the “elaborate event of the century”: her engagement to John.  She also kept a “death” scrapbook where she posted in memoriam articles on various family members – which included death notices for her parents, grandparents, and her brother.

By the end of the day, I had examined each piece of furniture in every photograph of President Hannah in an attempt to make a positive identification, or at the very least, establish some kind of link between him and the furniture at the Spartan Spirit Shop.  So, I was ultimately unable to find adequate evidence to suggest that the furniture did indeed belong to President Hannah.  While I was unable to verify the claim that these pieces of furniture belonged to President Hannah, archaeology teaches us that absence of evidence does not indicate evidence of absence.  I suppose that this rumor will live on!

The Old Botany Greenhouses

The Old Botany Greenhouses

When I arrived to work last week, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that we would be surveying the old Botany Greenhouses, particularly since I’ve walked by them for several years and, in passing, have always wondering about it’s “story.”  The old Botany Greenhouses 

Campus Archaeology at the Midwest Archaeological Conference

Campus Archaeology at the Midwest Archaeological Conference

Things have been quite busy here at the Consortium for Archaeological Research!  We’ve been busy planning and preparing for a major conference that our department is hosting – the upcoming 2012 Annual Midwest Archaeological Conference (MAC) – which will be held from October 18th – 21st.