Upcoming Events: Montgomery County Memory Project: People, Places, and Things of Montgomery County

April 23rd and April 30, 2016

The Montgomery County Memory Project: People, Places, and Things of Montgomery County, Virginia seeks to uncover local treasures hidden in corners of family homes, making connections within and among people in the community.

With the support of the Montgomery Museum and Lewis Miller Regional Art Center, the University Libraries at Virginia Tech, and the Christiansburg Library, along with a Common Heritage grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Samantha Parish Riggin organized a series of events for the Montgomery County community.

These events will educate the public about preservation and identification of artifacts, documents, manuscripts, and photographs while offering the opportunity to digitize them. Creating digital versions of family items will give visitors the opportunity to preserve items that may not withstand time so their families can have permanent digital keepsakes. The Memory Project events may also lead to discoveries that enrich Montgomery County history as well as visitors own family histories.

There are several events associated with the project:

  • A talk by Samantha Parish Riggin, “Antique Speak,” on April 10th from 2-4pm at the Christiansburg branch of the Montgomery-Floyd Public Library
  • Digitization day, April 23rd from 10am-2pm, Community Room at the Christiansburg branch of the Montgomery-Floyd Public Library
  • Digitization day, April 30th from 10am-2pm, Multipurpose Room on the ground floor of Newman Library at Virginia Tech
  • A talk by by Spencer Slough later in the summer, based on some of the items digitized at events in April. More information will be forthcoming in the future.


WVTF ran a story over the weekend that includes an interview with the project’s director, Samantha Parish Riggin. as well as some additional information. You can read the article and listen to the story online. Questions may be directed to the Samantha Parish Riggin, Program Director for The Montgomery Country Memory Project at 724-493-0750.

IntergalacticNemesis-library poster (2)
Intergalactic Nemesis at Special Collections, Thursday evening, September 25th from 5:30PM to 7:00PM:
In conjunction with the performance of the same name at the Moss Center for the Arts, Special Collections will be hosting two simultaneous events:

Open Exhibitions of Selections from the William J. Heron Speculative Fiction Collection

— In the Multi-Purpose Room on the first floor of Newman Library will be a running multi-screen video presentation of science fiction materials from the 1920s through the 1980s. Refreshments will be provided.

— In the Special Collections Reading Room, a display of the actual printed materials from the Heron Collection, including pulp magazines from the 20s through the 80s, will be presented.

Both events are free and open to the public. Please attend!!


April 11th through April 16th 2014
The University Libraries Special Collections, in partnership with Student Centers and Activities and Ashley Maynors Self-Reliant Film, presents, From Then to Now: An Exhibition in Two Parts about April 16th. Part I of the exhibition will be held in the Newman Libraries Multipurpose room where a digital gallery of eight screens will display photos and short films. Three screens in the exhibit contain photos that were sent in after April 16th by community members, faculty and staff. Two screens display photos of the Hokies United memorials, which were created on the Drillfield post 4/16. The two films in the exhibit are by Ashley Maynor and comprise a home movie of the early Drillfield Memorial and footage of Virginia Tech from Maynors film in progress, The Story of the Stuff, which explores how we collectively mourn and memorialize in a time where tragedies are experienced first hand-once removed on the web and television. Part II of the exhibition will be held directly across the hallway from Part I, in the Special Collections room, and include a physical display of condolence items. These items were created by people from all over the world during the months following April 16th. The two parts show how the creative process helped many move towards healing and created a path out of the darkness of grief.

The exhibit was curated by Robin Scully Boucher, art programs director for Student Centers and Activities at Virginia Tech. Ashley Maynor is an award-winning filmmaker and producer. She was named the Sundance Institutes Sheila C. Johnson Creative Producing Fellow. Her most recent film as director is the documentary For Memories Sake. Tamara Kennelly, university archivist, coordinated the processing of the Virginia Tech April 16, 2007 Archives of the University Libraries

Both exhibits are on the first floor of Newman Library up the ramp from the study cafe. There will be an opening reception with food and refreshments on Friday, April 11 from 12 to 1. The exhibition is free and open to the public.


Open House at Special Collections: Fall 2013

The first of four open house events at Special Collections will be held on Tuesday September 3rd from 5:00PM to 7:00PM. Other open houses will be held on the first Tuesday of each month this fall, through December.










If you’ve never taken the opportunity to explore the holdings of Special Collections—but perhaps you’ve never seen a first edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses, or always wondered about the relationship between cocktails and prohibition, or couldn’t believe that a 56 year old fellow from Wisconsin really did enlist in the Union Army in October 1861 . . . alongside his 12 year-old son—well, now would be a good time to start. We’ll have a representative sample of our holdings on display and staff members on hand who will be happy to answer your questions.

Selection of Civil War Diaries
Selection of Civil War Diaries
Two works by Langston Hughes: A New Song (1938; signed) and Scottsboro Limited (1931)
Two works by Langston Hughes: A New Song (1938; signed) and Scottsboro Limited (1931)






This is just a sample of what you’ll find when you visit Special Collections. Please do drop in this Tuesday, September 3rd or, if you can’t make it then, visit us for one of our First Tuesday Open House events this fall. Whether to support an interest or provide assistance for a research project Special Collections is here to offer a wealth of assistance and materials. Come see us!












Appalanche: An Avalanche of Appalachian Culture
April 17, 2013 from 5-7pm

Free and open to the public

Celebrate Appalachian culture through displays, music, dancing, food, and more in Newman Library April 17, 2013. Special Collections will host a display of selected local collections in their Reading Room on the first floor. Members of our Technical Services department will display and demonstrate quilting techniques. The Study Caf will have old time music and square dancing. Examples of Appalachian food will be served, including pinto beans, greens, and corn bread. We will also have slide shows of natural history and digital collections.

Co-sponsored by Appalachian Studies and University Libraries.

Never Forgotten 4/16/07

A Remembrance art exhibit from the April 16 Condolence Archives
April 13-April 16, 2013

An art exhibit of items received by Virginia Tech after the April 16, 2007 shootings will be on display in Newman Library’s Special Collections Reading Room from April 13 – 16. This exhibit is free and open to the public. Curated by Robin Scully Boucher, art director of Squires Perspective Gallery, the exhibit includes some works that have not been publicly shown before.

Hours of the exhibit are:
April 13: 9:00am – 4:00pm
April 14: 1:00pm – 4:00pm
April 15: 8:00am – 5:00pm
April 16: 8:00am – 5:00pm
A reception will be held April 16 from 2:00pm to 3:00pm.

On Saturday and Sunday, Special Collections will function only as a gallery. We will be able to accommodate researchers during our normal hours Monday, April 15-Wednesday, April 17 during the exhibition and while we reset our reading room.

The Black Panther Party: Power to the People!
Inciting Change in American Society

1 February 2013 through 28 February 2013

Special Collections is participating in several events sponsored by Newman Library as part of the University’s celebration of Black History Month.

On Thursday, February 21st, Kira Dietz, archivist at Special Collections, will be speaking about the ways African-American cooking has influenced early American cuisine. She will also discuss the roles and representations of African-Americans in the history of American food culture as cooks, authors, and inspirations. Her presentation will highlight and draw from books and manuscripts in the History of Food & Drink Collection.

This event will take place on the second floor of Newman Library from noon until 1 o’clock.

As part of the same program Daniel Thorp, associate professor of history, will discuss his research into the history of African-Americans in Montgomery County, Virginia.


On Thursday, February 26th, we will be participating in an all-day Read-a-thon of Colson Whitehead’s novel, The Intuitionist. Everyone is invited to participate by being a reader and/or listener!

Published in 1999, The Intuitionist is a terrific novel (“funny, noir-inflected,” say the critics) about Lila Mae Watson, the city’s first black woman elevator inspector. As one of the Intuitionists, she is one of the group of inspectors that spar with another group of inspectors, The Empiricists. When an elevator crashes on her watch (hear the cable snap; see the elevator fall), all hell breaks loose. The matter is complicated when excerpts of the lost notebooks of James Fulton, Intuitionism’s founder, begin to suddenly appear. These notebooks describe Fulton’s work on a “black box” that will reinvent the city as powerfully as did the first elevator. (Imagine, how could there be a modern city without them!) Lila Mae gets involved in the search for these notebooks and the secrets they hold.

Don’t miss the fun. Come when you can, stay as long as you like.

When: February 26th, all day long
Where: 1st floor, Newman Library: in the caf space

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