Browse Exhibits (28 total)

America's Love Affair with Chocolate

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Welcome to the magnificent world of chocolate contained in this exhibit! Here we will discuss chocolate history from its first consumption by South American native peoples to its modern day use in one of America's favorite desserts: chocolate cake. We will also dive into the complicated history of Red Velvet cake and attempt to answer burning questions like "what makes red velvet cake red?"

Handmade and Heartfelt: Selections from the April 16, 2007 Condolence Archives


Following the events of April 16, 2007, Virginia Tech received thousands of handmade and heartfelt items to express condolences, thoughts and prayers of healing and support, and solace for the Hokie Community. This exhibit, "Handmade and Heartfelt: Selections from the April 16, 2007 Condolence Archives," highlights just a few of the collected items that were made by hand to share the hearts of the world with the Hokie Community.

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The Products of John T. Parsons


The Parsons Corporation, established in Michigan by Carl Parsons, produced a wide variety of goods under the direction of his son, John T. Parsons. Beginning in World War II, the company had a hand in making bombs, planes, helicopters, boats, and other materials for the war effort. Subsequently, Parsons took advantage of the increased automation in manufacturing brought about by his own invention of Numerical Control to branch out into household items, other vehicles, keyboards, and a number of other different avenues. 

This exhibit was created as part of the project, "Piercing the Veil: Creating Access to the Archives of American Aerospace Exploration at Virginia Tech," funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) from 2022 to 2024.

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From Salves to Snake Oils: Home Remedies and Patent Medicines


Many of the handwritten recipe books (also called receipt books) in the archives also contain home remedies alongside their cookery recipes. They tend to be entered in no particular order, so the at-home cures for illness are written alongside recipes for pound cake and head soup. Not only are there remedies for human illnesses and complaints, but these books also contain home remedies for animals and for the home itself. 

Sounds of Solace: Audio and audiovisual selections from the April 16, 2007 Condolence Archives


Created for the 16th annual remembrance commemoration in 2023, this exhibit - Sounds of Solace: Audio and audiovisual selections from the April 16, 2007 Condolence Archives - features songs, speeches, and recorded events memorializing the shooting and offering words of hope, solidarity, and grief from around the world.

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Pre-World War II Thanksgiving at V.P.I.

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Web exhibit version of the 1994 "Pre-World War II Thanksgiving at V.P.I." publication by Col. Harry D. Temple. This publication was produced for the Friends of the Virginia Tech Libraries and was re-created as a digital exhibit in the mid-1990s. 

Please note: This exhibit was migrated to Omeka in 2022 from its previous iteration as a web exhibit, first published in 1994. Some images may be of low or limited quality, as they were captured from the previous exhibit and not re-scanned. For the most part, the migrated exhibit has been re-created as close to the original form as Omeka allows. Titles were created for booklet pages, based on the textual content, to enhance navigation.

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Celebrating Virginia Tech: A Chronology of 150 Years


Created for the 150th Anniversary of Virginia Tech in Spring 2022, this digital exhibit and its complementary physical exhibit identify important events in Virginia Tech's history illustrated with photographs, artifacts, newsletters, newspaper clippings, oral histories, and more from collections and publications in VT Special Collections and University Archives.

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The Words of Children: Selections from the April 16, 2007, Condolence Archives


Created for the 15th annual remembrance commemoration in 2022, "The Words of Children" exhibit features over 150 items sent to the university from children all over the world following the events of April 16th. Items are selected from the April 16, 2007, Condolence Archives, held by VT Special Collections and University Archives. This digital exhibit also includes the memories of those affected by April 16th collected in the April 16, 2007, Oral History Collection. Exhibits are supported by Special Collections and University Archives and the University Libraries.

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Voces of a Pandemic

The Voces of a Pandemic Oral History Project was part of an institutional partnership with the Voces Oral History Center at the University of Texas at Austin. It was designed to document challenges to food security and safe and secure employment among Spanish-speaking community members, contacted through the regional mutual aid organization Casa Latina. The interviews were archived with the Voces Oral History Center at the University of Texas at Austin, and are also made available online here.

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A Lifetime of Service: Selections from the M. Rupert Cutler Papers


This exhibit contains a selection of materials from the M. Rupert Cutler Papers, chosen to illustrate the impact that Dr. Cutler has had on the environment, his community, and the world. The exhibit demonstrates that, in large ways and small, we can all make improvements to our lives and the lives of others through dedication, initiative, and a willingness to serve. 

This exhibit was created as part of the project, "This Land is Your Land: Creating Access to the M. Rupert Cutler Papers," funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) from 2020 to 2021.

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We Are Better Than We Think: Selections from the April 16, 2007 Condolence Archives


Created for the 14th annual remembrance commemoration in 2021, this exhibit - We Are Better Than We Think: Selections from the April 16, 2007 Condolence Archives - highlights the items Virginia Tech received following the events of April 16th. It features artifacts, children’s letters, poems, and more with messages of love, hope, and peace, most of which have not been displayed for exhibition before.

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Indigenous History at Virginia Tech

This exhibit explores significant events surrounding the history of Indigenous Peoples at Virginia Tech and in the surrounding areas.

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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.

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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.

An online exhibit on the history of Solitude was originally developed in early 2000. The archived version of the original exhibit is available online here. In 2020, it was migrated to a new platform/format and it was updated to include additional images and new information about digital items already included. The 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.

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125th Anniversary of Virginia Tech


This exhibit was originally created in 1997 to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Virginia Tech.

We are in the process of migrating the individual parts of this exhibit from the previous platform and not all materials are currently accessible here. In the interim, you can view the entirety of the exhibit through the Wayback Machine:

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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.    

Help us build the timeline. The University Archives is eager to learn more about the first and early students at Virginia Tech. If you have more information about these students, have noticed that a particular student’s name is missing, or can contribute to our knowledge of students not listed who were the firsts from a particular country, please contact Special Collections and University Archives at We would gratefully receive biographical information, documents, and memorabilia that would help us learn more about these pioneering students at Virginia Tech.

Image from the 1951 Bugle (yearbook)

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History of Women at Virginia Tech


The History of Women at Virginia Tech digital project is a collaborative effort to showcase women’s history at this university through archival documents, photographs, interviews, and more. It also includes an interactive timeline.

This project lives on a separate site:

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The Only Game In Town: A Selection from the Fries Textile Plant Records, 1900-1988 (Ms1989-039)


This exhibit contains a selection of materials from the Fries Textile Mill Records, Ms1989-039, chosen to demonstrate the history of the mill, and its inextricable links to the community surrounding it. Fries was very much a company town, as can be seen in the variety of images, legal records, and community records they held.

What is most remarkable is not that these materials were created, nor even that someone decided that they were important enough to keep. What truly sets the exhibited pieces apart is that the mill administration was the body doing the collecting, and that the company deemed all of the documents here worthy of preservation. Keep that in mind as you peruse the exhibit.

This exhibit was created as part of the project, "They're Closing Down the Textile Mill: Creating Access to the Fries Textile Plant Records," funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) from 2018 to 2019.


Sherwood Anderson: His Life, His Letters, His Literature, and His Circle


Between the publication of his first novel in 1916 and his death in 1941, Sherwood Anderson published 8 novels, 4 collections of short stories, 2 collections of poetry, 1 collection of plays, and 12 works of non-fiction. 

Special Collections has a variety of materials on Anderson, given that a portion of his life was spent in nearby Marion, Virginia. While the majority of his personal and literary papers reside in The Newberry in Chicago, Illinois, Special Collections at Virginia Tech houses several manuscript collections relating to Anderson's life, works, and literary circle, as well as a biographical research file. In addition, we hold more than 250 volumes by Anderson with translations in over a dozen languages.

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.

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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.

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John Henning Woods


This collection includes three memoir volumes and three diaries written by John Henning Woods, a Southern Unionist, Confederate conscript, and eventual Union soldier during the American Civil War. While the collection spans the period of years from 1856 through 1873, the majority of the collection focuses on the years during the Civil War.

Communities of Caring: Community expressions of support in response to the events of April 16, 2007

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This exhibit highlights expressions of support Virginia Tech received from communities around the world following the events of April 16, 2007. Created for the 10th anniversary in 2017, the exhibit focuses primarily on those communities outside Blacksburg, Virginia, that reached out to express their solidarity and support of Virginia Tech.

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Women's History Month 2016


In honor of Women's History Month 2016, Special Collections created this exhibit of selected items which highlight the contributions and significance of women in a variety of subject areas: local history, architecture, science and technology, Virginia Tech history, literature, and more!

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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.

Virginia Tech led redevelopment of the New Town area in the early 2000s and as a result, most traces of New Town are now lost to history.

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.

This digital version of the Virginia Tech Public History program’s efforts highlights the work done through the physical exhibition and through additional outside research.

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LGBTQ+ History at Virginia Tech


Beginning in fall 2014, faculty and students in the Virginia Tech History Department, 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.

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Jeffrey T. Wilson Diary


The transcription, digitalization, and contextualization of Jeffrey T. Wilson’s 1913 diary constitutes the collaborative efforts of Virginia Tech history student Dara Green, Associate Professors of History Brett Shadle and LaDale Winling, Public Services and Reference Archivist Marc Brodsky, and Technical Archivist Adrienne Serra. Work with the diary began in the fall of 2013 and concluded in following year.

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Do You Miss Me? Vintage Postcards from Appalachia

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Vintage postcards of Southwest Virginia from the Appalachian Collection at VT University Libraries Special Collections.

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