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Celebrating Virginia Tech's Sesquicentennial: Resources from the University Libraries: Digital Projects & Exhibits

As we move toward the 150th anniversary of Virginia Tech, this guide brings together known resources from campus and the larger community on the history of the university. This guide will be updated as new projects are completed.

Many groups on campus may have digital projects & exhibits which may be available for use/reuse. The descriptions of digital projects & exhibits below include, whenever possible, a note about the rights for use of the materials. If the use or reuse rights are not known, we recommend visiting the exhibit and contacting the person who created it.

University Libraries

Special Collections & University Archives

Digital Exhibits

Rights for exhibits and materials in Special Collections & University Archives (SCUA) can vary, though they are generally under a Creative Commons Atttribution-NonCommercial 4.0 license, unless otherwise noted. Please contact SCUA (specref@vt.edu or 540-231-6308) for questions about using exhibits, if an exhibit does not have a license, or to request copies/higher resolution of items used in exhibits.

  • 125th Anniversary of Virginia Tech: In 1997, the University Archives developed an online exhibit to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the university. In 2020, this exhibit was migrated to a new platform for improved access and interaction. This exhibit includes photographs, memoirs/essays, clippings, documents, timelines, and ephemera highlighting different aspects of the university's changes over time. The new site is on Special Collections and University Archives digital platform. The original site can be viewed via archive-it.org
  • Black History at Virginia Tech: This exhibit explores significant events surrounding the history of the Black community at Virginia Tech and the surrounding areas from the 1770's to today.
  • College and Departmental Histories at Virginia Tech: SCUA hosts several legacy histories of college and departments. These are currently accessible via the Wayback Machine while we work on upgrading the technology and improving access. Histories vary and can include video, html sites, pdf files, or textual transcripts to oral histories. The link goes to the main page, which lists histories by department within each college. 
  • Communities of Caring: Community Expressions of Support in Response to the Events of April 16, 2007: This exhibit, Communities of Caring, takes items from the digital collection and highlights the types of communities that reached out to Virginia Tech in this global show of support. April 16, 2017 will mark the 10th anniversary of the events that sparked the flood of support from communities worldwide. Since many from those communities will be unable to come to Blacksburg to honor the anniversary, this exhibit is provided as a way for them to reconnect with the sense of universal community represented by the items they sent.
  • Denim Day: 40th Anniversary: This exhibit was created as part of the Denim Day 40th Anniversary commemorative events in 2019. Denim Day 1979 was a statement. It announced to the university that gay and lesbian students existed at Virginia Tech. These pages feature the voices of alumni from that time recalling what Denim Day meant to them and what life was like for them at Virginia Tech in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
  • The First International Students at VT: Virginia Tech has had a rich history of international students from its beginnings as Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (VAMC). James Dunsmuir from British Columbia, Canada enrolled in the college in 1874 just two years after VAMC opened in 1872. The timeline, "First International Students at Virginia: By Year" includes the first and early international students from 1874 through the early 1960s. The map, "First International Students at Virginia Tech: By Country," gives an listing of countries and the names and years of attendance of the first and early students from a particular country.    
  • Indigenous History at Virginia Tech: This exhibit explores significant events surrounding the history of the Indigenous community at Virginia Tech and the surrounding areas. This project is a work-in-progress. Information on Virginian tribes and Indigenous Peoples at Virginia Tech is being received, updated, and revised continually.
  • History of Women at Virginia Tech: In partnership with the Women's Center and with assistant from students, alumni, and retired faculty, Special Collections and University Archives manages a digital exhibit on the history of women at Virginia Tech. It currently includes photographs, documents, presentations, and clippings. This is an active project that continues to expand. 
  • LGBTQ+ History at Virginia Tech: Beginning in the fall of 2014, faculty and students in the Virginia Tech History Department, along with colleagues in the University Libraries’ Special Collections and campus partners including HokiePRIDE, the LGBT Faculty/Staff Caucus, and the Ex Lapide Society (the LGBTQA alumni network at VT) began collecting oral histories to document the history of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer life in the 20th century American South and specifically at Virginia Tech. In addition to collecting oral histories, the project aims to build an archival collection of materials such as correspondence, photographs, publications, reminiscences, and ephemera that will help document LGBTQ+ life at Virginia Tech and in the American South.
  • New Town: Across the Color Line Digital Exhibition: New Town, a predominantly African American community central to the history of Blacksburg, Virginia Tech and Montgomery County, advanced alongside Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI) through the better part of a century. The community eventually dissolved as Virginia Tech developed into the sprawling university that it is today. In a campaign to uncover and highlight the history of lost, forgotten or marginalized groups and events, Virginia Tech’s Public History program participated in a collaborative project that would emphasize the geographical, spatial and population dynamics of New Town by providing this socially engaging and experiential exhibit for the public.
  • Solitude: Starting as a humble log cabin in 1801, Solitude grew to become the home of two Virginia governors, and the home of Robert Preston, who sold the property in 1872 to provide land for the new Virginia land grant college, Virginia Agriculture and Mechanical College, later to be known as Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. It is Virginia Tech's oldest structure, the "homeplace" of the University. Because of its rich historical and architectural heritage, Solitude was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and named a Virginia Historic Landmark in 1989. This updated exhibit also features a page of additional resources located in Special Collections and University Archives and/or online about the building, its history, and the Preston family.
  • Unknown Origin: Anonymous Gifts in the April 16, 2007, Condolence Archives: Created for the 13th annual remembrance commemoration in 2020, this exhibit - Unknown Origin: Anonymous gifts in the April 16, 2007 Condolence Archives - highlights the messages Virginia Tech received from unknown individuals, organizations, or places following the events of April 16, 2007. It features anonymous donations and gifts of unknown origin, paying homage to those who want to be part of the mourning and recovery process but do not necessarily want to be known.

Virginia Tech Publishing

Rights for The VPI World War I project are unknown. Please visit the exhibit page and contact the person listed on the exhibit for more information.

Digital Humanities Projects
  • VPI in World War I: This project brings together information about students, classes at VPI, and their involvement in World War I. The website also includes a link to the active project blog. 

ICAT

Digital Exhibits

Rights for ICAT digital exhibits are unknown. Please visit the exhibit page and contact the person listed on the exhibit for more information.

Virginia Cooperative Extension

 Digital Exhibits

 Rights for individual images on the timeline may vary. 

Contact

Have a suggestion for the LibGuide? Working on a project that relates to campus history or the 150th anniversary of Virginia Tech? Looking for help finding materials or partners on a VT150 project? Have materials you would like to donate to Special Collections and University Archives? The VT150 University Libraries Working Group is available at vt150library-g@vt.edu. Reach out to us and we'll connect you with the correct library staff for your needs!