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Donation Creates Research Destination for Great Lakes History

May 9th, 2017 · No Comments · News

The University Libraries at Bowling Green State University has greatly expanded its collection of Great Lakes research materials thanks to a significant donation from the National Museum of the Great Lakes, which is owned and operated by the Great Lakes Historical Society.

More than 160 cubic feet of photos, pamphlets, slides, bound materials, postcards and archival materials have found a new home in the Libraries’ Historical Collections of the Great Lakes (HCGL), housed within the Center for Archival Collection.

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“We are grateful to the National Museum of the Great Lakes for entrusting us with their extensive collection, and we are excited that the consolidation of their materials with our existing Great Lakes archives has now created the largest collection of its kind on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes,” said Mary Ellen Mazey, Ph.D., president of Bowling Green State University. “Thank you to the Museum, its board of directors, the Great Lakes Historical Society and the University Libraries staff who helped to facilitate this exciting and symbiotic new alliance in the name of historic preservation.”

These additional materials bolster the already robust offering of Great Lakes-related research and artifacts curated by the University Libraries at BGSU.

“The Great Lakes materials recently donated to HCGL is a wonderful addition to our holdings and provides many opportunities for collaboration between BGSU, the National Museum of the Great Lakes and the Great Lakes Historical Society,” said University Libraries Dean Sara A. Bushong.

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The addition of these materials to BGSU also will make University Libraries a major research destination in the U.S. for Great Lakes history.

“The added scope and depth of the HCGL collection expands research opportunities for BGSU students and faculty, National Museum of the Great Lakes staff and patrons, as well as researchers from beyond campus,” said retired HCGL archivist Bob Graham, who played an instrumental role in bringing the collection to BGSU. “Both organizations view this donation as the first step in an evolving partnership involving students, faculty and museum staff.”

Potential areas of collaboration include internships, lectures series, exhibits, new courses and digital galleries.

“The merging of these incredible archival collections is just the beginning of a long, synergistic journey between our two organizations that will both preserve Great Lakes history, but more important, elevate the perception of Great Lakes history in our national culture,” said Christopher Gillcrist, National Museum of the Great Lakes Executive Director. “This collaboration will help ensure the understanding of the role Great Lake history has played in our national story.”

Founded in 1944, the Great Lakes Historical Society was one of the earliest organizations to focus on the history of the Great Lakes region. For the past seven decades, the society has created one of the premier collections of historical materials documenting the Great Lakes, which was previously housed in the Clarence S. Metcalf Great Lakes Maritime Research Library at the former Inland Seas Maritime Museum in Vermilion, Ohio.

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“The archival collection that we donated to BGSU represents over 70 years of library-based materials donated to and acquired by our organization,” said Anna Kolin, development director for the National Museum of the Great Lakes. “By merging it with a large university, it increases its access to those looking to do research on Great Lakes topics, which is why, in part, BGSU was chosen.”

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