Here at Campus Archaeology, we love outreach – just this past week, we presented at both Michigan Archaeology Day and at our annual Apparitions and Archaeology Tour! (Thank you to those who stopped by!) We love outreach so much because we are passionate about archaeology …
Author: Rhian Dunn
We love the work we do through MSU’s Campus Archaeology. While our primary purpose is to mitigate and protect the archaeological and cultural resources on MSU’s campus, CAP goes above and beyond to also engage with our public audience and local community through outreach and …
Happy October! We hope everyone is doing well and is staying safe!
Things are definitely looking a little different here this fall, as MSU has made the decision to stay remote for the entire semester. As our director, Dr. Camp, mentioned in her blog post titled Campus Archaeology In the Time of COVID-19, CAP has had to adapt quickly to a new world where it is not safe to go out in the field or to hold many of our usual events. While this introduces many new challenges, we are extremely lucky that all our CAP fellows are working hard to upload digital content so we can stay active with community outreach!
So, for the first of many new digital events this academic year, we are pleased to introduce:
1. Our new Virtual Haunted Campus Tour: Available now!
2. Our Haunted Tour Facebook Live Q&A Session: 7- 8:15pm on October 28. If you would like to submit a question to CAP and have it answered during the event, fill out this form created by the MSU Alumni Office.
The Apparitions and Archaeology or Haunted Campus Tour has traditionally been a joint effort between CAP and the MSU Paranormal Society to guide interested – and brave! – visitors around sites on campus known for their paranormal activity and archaeological significance.
This year our Apparitions and Archaeology Tour is hosted on Twine – a user-friendly and open-sourced tool with a “choose your own adventure” format. And because of the new digital interface, we are, for the first time ever, able to include ALL of the sites!
1. Beaumont Tower
2. Sleepy Hollow
3. Saints’ Rest
4. 1900 Class Fountain
5. Morrill Hall
6. Mary Mayo Hall
7. Beal Garden
8. MSU Museum
To navigate our Twine Tour, click on each site to first learn a bit about its history as a part of MSU’s campus. Then choose to either learn more about the archaeology of that site – all excavated by CAP – or learn more about the chilling stories that have been passed down throughout the years! But that’s not all! As you scroll through our Twine, click on any word that is colored orange – each of these words will lead you to new pages with more information on the particulars of that site, related buildings, archaeological terms, and much more!
It may be easy to get lost, but never fear – scroll to the bottom of each page to find links to each of the eight sites to start all over again! And as you visit more and more pages, blue words will indicate pages that you have already visited so you won’t lose track.
We hope you enjoy our tour as much as we did making it! Click here to start our Tour!
Even with our new Haunted Tour Twine, we wouldn’t feel complete without an opportunity to engage with all of you! Therefore, we will be hosting a Haunted Tour Facebook Live Question and Answer Session on October 28 so we can answer any questions you might have about the Haunted Tour Twine sites.
To submit questions for the Q&A, fill out this form, comment on this blog post or send a message to our Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter accounts! We will be checking these sites regularly and will compile them all for our event at the end of the month. We are looking forward to your questions and seeing you live!
Although, this may not be the fall 2020 semester we expected, we are terribly excited to release our Haunted Campus Tour Twine and cannot wait to see you all at our Facebook Live Q&A event on October 28th!!
Welcome back to our blog series on research and historical laboratories on MSU’s campus! In our last blog we learned more about the first three buildings added to Laboratory Row and how they have been used on campus over time. As we mentioned in our first blog …
Welcome back to our blog series on research and historical laboratories on MSU’s campus! In our last blog we discussed how MSU branched out to expand their research to fields outside sciences directly related to agriculture, such as chemistry and botany, by creating a Mechanical …
Welcome back to our blog series on research and historical laboratories on MSU’s campus! In our last blog, we talked about the first two laboratories on campus, the Chemistry and Botanical Laboratories. Both laboratories highlight MSU’s commitment to agriculture, as a better understanding of the hard science as well as the plant species themselves likely directly impacted the types of plants and crops grown at the College and how they were cared for. As mentioned in the first blog of this series, Michigan was still trying to establish itself as a new state in the existing market and the research from early MSU, the only agricultural college in the state, must have made large contributions to the state’s efforts!
In fact, MSU quickly realized the benefit of their new laboratory spaces and soon began to expand beyond just agricultural research with the addition of the Mechanical Building and Laboratory Row. A look at these spaces demonstrates MSU’s strong research ethics across the board!
Mechanical Building (1885-1916, 1916-1966)
Upon the establishment of MSU, the College was tasked to teach a variety of hard sciences, “such branches of learning as are related to … the mechanical arts” (as cited in Kuhn 1955:146). But the adoption of a curriculum in the mechanical arts, besides a few courses related to farming, was slow. At first, the College just didn’t have funds – if they were to offer a degree in mechanical arts to the level of their agricultural one, the College would need a wood-shop, a foundry, and a metal-finishing shop at minimum (Kuhn 1955:146). However, even when the College overcame their financial insecurity, friends of the College objected to the creation of the new degree – what if students chose mechanical arts over agriculture?
This all changed when Hon. Edwin Willits took over as a new president of the university. Willits recognized the importance of a degree in mechanical arts and refused to take office unless the College agreed to fund one! Not only was his request fulfilled, but the College received $17,000 for one new building and a salary for a professor of Mechanics (Kuhn 1955:147).
With the necessary funds available, a new structure of engineering shops, known as the Mechanical Building, was constructed in 1885, southeast of College Hall (Forsyth 2020a). The Mechanical Building included office spaces, a woodshop, a blacksmith shop, an iron shop, a brass foundry, and an iron foundry – this enabled the students to “carry a machine from the drawing-board through the wood pattern to the casting and the finished machine” (Kuhn 1955:148). While much of the first decade was spent creating new tools for the shops, including an electric motor, the shops were open for personal projects on Saturdays, which allowed the students to build and sell folding beds for dorm rooms (Kuhn 1955:148).
Left: Interior of machine or mechanical shop, dated to 1888. Right: College of Engineering Shop, undated photograph. Images courtesy of MSU Archives and Historical Collections.
Although the program began as part of a general Mechanical Department, soon other courses were added to the basic curriculum. In 1901, an option of civil engineering coursework became available for juniors and seniors. A course catalogue from 1906 stands as the first evidence of the College offering courses in electrical engineering, but they must have been a huge success as just one year later the Mechanical Department formally changed to the Engineering Department (Beal 1915:149). Although mathematics and civil engineering later split from the Engineering Department, it continued to house civil engineering, drawing and design, mechanical engineering, physics, and electrical engineering (Beal 1915:149) – quite a selection for potential students of the College! The department grew so fast that a separate Engineering Building had to be built in the adjacent plot in 1907 in order to accommodate office and shop space for each of the different courses.
Unfortunately, on March 5, 1916, a fire broke out in the shops that burnt down both the Mechanical Building and the Engineering Building (Forsyth 2020a). Little could be salvaged from the fire, but luckily, due to a donation from Ransom E. Olds, the college was able to rebuild the Shops, as well as a new Forge and Foundry (Forsyth 2020a). The new buildings were built and ready that same year – clearly, the College recognized the importance of the Engineering Department and the need for working shops!
Over time, the Engineering Department has grown and changed to reflect its current mission, but shifts in the curriculum and the ability to relocate buildings across campus affected the continued use of the Mechanical Building. Today, only Olds Hall and the Electric Engineering Building remain, as the rest were torn down in 1966-68 to create space for the new Hannah Administration Building (Forsyth 2020a). Although the old shops are no longer a feature on campus, their growth in both space and courses offered highlights MSU’s efforts to increase research and hands-on learning across their curricula and not just those related to agriculture!
In 2010, CAP had the opportunity to perform a series of shovel tests around the current Hannah Administration Building, the plot of the old Mechanical Building (CAP Report No. 27). During this excavation, historical artifacts including glass, ceramic, brick, coal, and drain tile were uncovered (CAP Report No. 27). It is likely that these artifacts hail from the shops that previously rested on this plot of land! No further excavation has taken place in this region of campus to date, but it has been recommended that any future construction work be carefully monitored due to the high abundance of artifacts found in the 2010 shovel testing.
The need for more laboratory space for a multitude of departments soon became apparent, as curricula began to shift to purse the more hands-on approach already fostered within the Chemistry Department and Mechanical Arts. This need led to the construction of Laboratory Row, a row of seven separate buildings, constructed over a twenty-four-year period, which provided laboratory spaces for a variety of different departments. Construction began in 1885 with the Veterinary Laboratory and finished in 1909 with the addition of the new Agriculture Hall.
As time passed, most of these departments moved away to larger replacements elsewhere on campus, calling into question the need for these buildings. In fact, in the early 1920s, several plans were made to demolish the row, including plans made by T. Glenn Phillips in 1926 to replace the row with one single building with double-wing offices and classrooms (Forsyth 2020b). However, this plan did not come to fruition due to a lack of funds. Another attempt to replace the row with a single large building for the Basic College (Social Science, Humanities, etc.) was put forth in 1958, but was never executed. Today, the remaining six buildings are still in use and are included in the State Historic Register (Forsyth 2020b).
While the buildings on Laboratory Row do not necessarily house the departments they were built for anymore, their creation demonstrates the College’s efforts to increase research in all departments! To learn more about the departments included in Laboratory Row, join us next week for the next part of this blog series!
- Beal, W. J. 1915 History of the Michigan Agricultural College and biogeographical sketches of trustees and professors. Agricultural College, East Lansing, Michigan.
- Forsyth, K. 2020a. Accessed at: https://kevinforsyth.net/ELMI/engineering-shops.htm
- Forsyth, K. 2020b. Accessed at: https://kevinforsyth.net/ELMI/laboratory-row.htm
- Kuhn, M. 1955. Michigan State: The First Hundred Years. The Michigan State University Press, East Lansing.
- Stawski, C. 2010. Administration Building Survey Report. MSU Campus Archaeology Program, Report No. 27, East Lansing, Michigan.
Welcome back to our blog series on research and historical laboratories on MSU’s campus! In our last blog, we outlined how the university gained its start with an emphasis on scientific research and its uses for agriculture. Although the College used as much of its …
We are all familiar with Michigan State University’s (MSU) status as a part of the top ten conference (Go Spartans!) and for its place as a top tier research university (recently ranked in the top 8% nationwide). In fact, MSU offers 170 degrees for undergraduate …
Welcome to the new decade – 2020! With the start of this new era, and our spring semester at Michigan State University, we are happy to continue working through the Campus Archaeology Program! In addition to working on our individual projects (detailed in our previous blog introducing our 2019 CAP Graduate Fellows), we will be participating and hosting several events in the next few months. Here is a sneak peek into what events our Fellows and Interns will be helping with this semester:
First up, a paper written by our very own Autumn Painter, Jeff Burnett, and Dr. Stacey Camp, will be presented at this year’s Society of Historical Archaeology conference in Boston (Jan 8-11)! The paper is titled: “Translating Campus Archaeology Research into Outreach.” We are so pleased that our outreach events are making a positive impact! Congratulations!
In March, on Thursday the 5th, we will be hosting an in-classroom workshop for a local Lansing school through MSU Science Fest! For this event, students will get the chance to be an archaeologist through our archaeological site kits! Each kit was created based on a real site excavated by either Campus Archaeology or by other archaeology faculty members at MSU. With this activity, students get think like an archaeologist and learn how to interpret artifacts, maps, and photographs to determine what site their kit is from!
Later in March, on Saturday the 14th, we will be hosting an event for the Girl Scouts of Michigan. Last year, our Campus Archaeology Fellows worked hand in hand with Bethany Wilson, the Girl Scout Regional Program and Event Specialist, to create an archaeology badge! Through this event, troops from around the state will attend and work with our Fellows and Interns in order to earn our “Digging into the Past” badge. Our previous blog post, Scout’s Honor, highlights our efforts to create this badge and lists what each scout is required to do in order to get one. We are so excited to host this event for our very own Michigan Girl Scouts!
For those of you who enjoyed our Food Truck event in November of last fall, we are pleased to announce that we will be co-hosting another food event with MSU Culinary Services, Campus Archaeology Throwback Thursday: 150 Years of Campus Cuisine! This event will take place on March 19th at the Brody Dining Hall where historically based cuisine items will be available at the cafe stations. These meals will be based on historical recipes, archival documents, and archaeological research. Join us for a meal that’s historically amazing!
For our next event, on Saturday April 4th, we will be participating in the annual Michigan State University Science Festival Expo Day! At this event, our Fellows and Interns look forward to providing more information on what we do through Campus Archaeology, as well answering any questions visitors might have about the field of archaeology. In addition, an array of activities will be available, such as the opportunity to try reassembling pottery, play our stratigraphy game, and check out some of the cool artifacts we have found all around campus – including those highlighted in some of our older blog posts! Through this outreach opportunity, we hope to share both our love for archaeology and demonstrate how science plays a role in our work!
Finally, for any MSU alumni grandparents, we will also be hosting a session during MSU’s Grandparents University! If you are interested in participating, please check out their website:
These outreach events, which are fun and educational for all, are not the only things happening in the next few months for those of us in Campus Archaeology. This semester, our CAP Fellows will also continue to work on a number of projects, including the early food project, researching graduate student history at Michigan State University, creating a comprehensive map of our excavations across campus, building a database for our collection of artifacts, and continuing to create new outreach activities!
We look forward to the new semester, the new decade, and to seeing all of you at our outreach activities this spring! Stay tuned for our blog posts to learn more about each event and our CAP projects!