Archival Oddities: Discovering the unexpected in Special Collections and Rare Books

Archival Oddities: Discovering the unexpected in Special Collections and Rare Books

View Archival Oddities on display on the 3rd floor, W.A.C. Bennett Library.

About the exhibit: What's in an archive?

Clockwise from top: Plant this book by Richard Brautigan; Death and Trauma by Rob McLennan; [The worm is devoted to digestion] by Mark Laba
Clockwise from top: Please plant this book by Richard Brautigan; Death and Trauma by Rob McLennan; [The worm is devoted to digestion] by Mark Laba.

 

As guardians of historical documentation, archives are known to contain manuscripts, primary and published materials, rare books, and archival materials. However, even we that work in Special Collections & Rare Books are surprised to discover items that depart from the conventional inside our vast collections. 

As the name suggests, Archival Oddities is an exhibit that showcases a collection of unusual and intriguing items that one might not expect to find in an archive. The exhibit features a diverse range of materials including toy robots, a poem made of dirt, a book with a dried worm, spoons, floppy disks, figurines, video games, a poem of seeds, wooden spoons, textiles, and more. 

These items illustrate that archives are not just about preserving the past, but also about exploring the unexpected and the unconventional.

What's on display?

Hand-knit textiles, wooden spoons, and iron nails from MsC-121 Doukhobor collection. The textiles and kitchen tools are examples of Doukhobor craftsmanship. The spikes and nails were gathered by Tom McGauley during his research into Doukhobor affairs during the hearings of the Kootenay Committee on Intergroup Relations (1982-1986) and are said the be from the death site of prominent Doukhobor leader Peter Vasilevich Verigin. 
Date(s)
January 22 - April 30
Location
3rd floor, W.A.C. Bennett Library (SFU Burnaby)
Contact for further information
For more information, contact David Kloepfer at kloepfer@sfu.ca