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Stepping into the Arthur F. McClure II Archives and Museum, you become immediately surrounded, amazed and intimated by feelings of history. From a photograph of UCM's first graduating class to a recent photo of a Mules national championship baseball team, the archives documents the university's history as well as the interests and passions of various faculty, staff and alumni.
This eclectic collection provides researchers original materials on such subjects as world famous UCM alumni, turn of the century antiques, even frontier memoirs. From financial statements and sports programs to calendars and commencement programs, the Arthur F. McClure II Archives and Museum seems to have a little piece of everything.
"We have these archives so that we can preserve the history of the university," explained Vivian Richardson, assistant director of the archives and museum and university historian. "The archives are utilized for teaching, writing research papers, finding information about activities, or to prepare for homecomings and class reunions. They are important to alumni, faculty, students and the community."
The archives keeps copies of every academic catalog, Rhetor and Muleskinner. There are banners, pennants and records about faculty, students and organizations. Then there are special collections: notable pieces about UCM alumni, such as world-famous self-help author Dale Carnegie and major league pitcher and proclaimed "world's greatest college athlete" Vernon Kennedy.
The museum's donated collections include McClure's own 20th century American history and African-American history collections. The Nance Middle Eastern Collection includes artifacts from Saudi Arabia and southeast and southwest Asia.
Other collections include the Haymaker Collection of Guatemalan ceramics, jewelry and textiles and the Rohmiller Seashell Collection of some 10,000 classified specimens from around the world. There's also a collection on Phog Allen, who left coaching at UCM and built a legend at the University of Kansas.
Most of the special collections have been donated by families. For example, the Haymaker Collection came from a family in Centerview, said Richardson. The two were missionaries in Guatemala and all their children attended what was then Normal #2, so the family decided to give back to the university by contributing the collection.
"Every piece of memorabilia, every picture and every document we have in the archives have been donated. These donations come from university departments that are cleaning house or alumni who might be doing the same thing," Richardson explained.
There are prehistoric artifacts from archaeological research in the region; World War I and II weapons; uniforms, gear and posters; and Native American objects from the Arctic, Plains and the Southwest. "Our collection is very eclectic." Richardson added. "We have resources from geology, biology, anthropology, archaeology and history."
Alumni or former faculty and staff who have items they want to donate should contact Richardson. The museum can help preserve these items and memories for future generations. For more information, contact Richardson at 660-543-4649 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Kelli McMasters Dec. ’05