On Tuesday, the University of West Florida libraries
will officially launch UWF's first virtual exhibit, containing
more than 450 images. Photographs, memorabilia and visual
historic material from UWF's Archives and Special Collections
provide a online platform of "living history."
"UWF is 40 years old now and there are a lot of alumni, a
global audience. This is a visual history of the past 40
years. But it's also an organic archive—or living history,"
said Dr. Ray Uzwyshyn, Head, Library Digital and Learning
Technology Programs, University of West Florida Libraries.
Originally, Dean DeBolt, Head of University Archives and Special
Collections, wanted to make the university libraries archives more accessible to a
global audience. Dr. Dana Sally, Dean of University Libraries, was
very generous in supporting the program. The project took over a
year to complete and consisted of a larger team of players.
The digital visual archive was designed around 12 themes: academics,
athletics, beginnings, buildings, campus life, community,
famous guests, panhandle environment, people, student
activities, symbols and wildlife/fauna.
IT Head, Ray Uzwyshyn believes the interactive feature will be
crucial to the site's living history role.
"We didn't want to write a single history for everyone. People
insert their own memories, their own stories. We're not actually
controlling what people write. It's interesting to see what
happens. From the bottom up, people write their own stories.
It's a living, evolving history project," Uzwyshyn said.
One famous guest—Lech Walesa—has already drawn
comments: "In history courses, I have learned about facts,
dates and events of the Cold War. I, however, did not fully
comprehend or appreciate the impact the Cold War had on the
lives of Europe's people. Lech Walesa's visit to UWF provided
me with the opportunity to expand my understanding of the Cold
War by introducing me to the humanistic side of history.
University of West Florida Student Festival Circa 1973
"Listening to Walesa retell his story of resistance,
adversity and triumph allowed me to make a connection to the
past I would not have been able to make through course
textbooks and classroom lectures. Events, like Walesa's visit,
provide the UWF and Pensacola community with an education that
cannot be achieved in the traditional classroom," wrote Wesley
Akers, who is also a staff member of the curriculum materials
Lech Walesa speaking at UWF, March 21st 2006
Uzwyshyn noted the university's first students are in
their late 50s or early 60s.
Hank Aaron at UWF during Civil Rights in the South Week circa 1974
A physical glass case display and computer kiosks will
be available in UWF's Pace Library. However, Dr. Uzwyshyn said it
will be a small display compared to what's available online.
"There are a lot of larger-than-life figures. I hope
they lend their personal history," Uzwyshyn said.
For more information
University of West Florida's Virtual History Exhibit
can be found at http://librarydigitalservices.uwf.edu/anniversary and the universitys site for events and class reunions is available at http://www.uwf.edu/40years/ If you have
photos or memorabilia for the university archives, please contact Dean DeBolt,
UWF Miss Aries 1969 competition, formals mandatory