How Important are our Archives?

Jenna Smith & Ava Compagnoni

Have you ever visited the Myrin basement to explore Ursinus history? Did you know there is endless information at your disposal located right below the concrete?

The Ursinus archives are located in the Myrin library on the second floor (there also are digital copies available online for easier access). Archives are historical documents or formal records that consist of integral historical information. In this case, the Ursinus archives consist of information from the last hundred or so years all about Ursinus and the work from people that previously attended this small college.

The physical archives exist for people to browse the information available to them about the institution. They are available, and anyone can view them, so that people can learn about the past. The scanned digital versions aren’t as “good,” as the formal, physical archives, in our humble opinion, because one is not touching the physical papers and getting that up-close experience. However, these digital archives exist for those unable to go see the physical copy, and all the information is still there.

These digital archives can also be accessed by anyone; an Ursinus-specific email or special code is not needed to access this online database. And these archives ARE used by people all over the globe. On the official archive library webpage, one can see where archives have been downloaded across a world map. Ursinus archives have been downloaded in almost all countries across the world.

Now, why exactly are archives important? And how are they different from regular history textbooks or biographies? Archives are important because they store history. They serve as a piece of the past, granting access to information from years prior to the regular person who otherwise wouldn’t be able to learn about this in-depth, Ursinus-specific history. Archives consist of old Grizzlies, Rubies, papers from past students and professors, etc. So you can find specific information about a certain year, and what was going on campus at a certain time.

Archives are extremely helpful when it comes to research. For example, say one wants to research what happened in the early ‘80s at Ursinus. The archives would be a PERFECT place to start. Normal Google searches would present one with all types of books and articles about life across the globe in the ‘80s. But, if one is looking for Ursinus-specific information, or information relevant to our institution, then the archives are the move. Old Grizzly issues or yearly recaps from the Ruby would provide one with relevant facts to help with their research.

The archives are also a super fun place to explore. Both of us love to spend hours there exploring the old Grizzlies and reading articles from talented students that used to attend Ursinus. The information they offer you is fun to read, and it’s interesting to learn about the cultural and societal differences over the years. In the archives, YOU choose what you want to learn. Go explore the archives today and let us know what hidden gems you are able to find there!