“Multidisciplinary,” the new exhibition in Fenwick’s A and C wings, highlights the variety of collections we have here in Special Collections & Archives. The idea for a multidisciplinary exhibition came from our desire to encourage scholars from throughout the University to examine our collections to find sources that are relevant to their fields. Archives are not just for historians—our collections touch on a variety of disciplines, and we are expanding our holdings constantly. We want the rest of George Mason University’s community to know that SC&A’s holding are here for them, too.
To assemble this exhibition, the staff of SC&A looked through the lenses of disparate disciplines to find examples that speak to scholars in the natural and physical sciences, conflict resolution, and transportation, to name a few examples. Spreading our net wide also meant we could highlight works that we found particularly appealing or quirky or mysterious. For example: processing specialist Greta Kuriger Suiter suggested looking at theatrical playbills in terms of graphic arts, or Japanese phonograph record covers as sources of language study; research services coordinator Christine Cheng plowed through the Poole cookbook collection to find choice items; long-time Northern Virginia resident and digital collections archivist Bob Vay selected a 1953 aerial photograph of Fairfax Circle and discerned its orientation; and SC&A head Yvonne Carignan found some beautiful examples from our large collection of performing arts sources. SC&A is full of fascinating textual, photographic, audiovisual, and material items available to scholars who are looking for unique sources of inquiry.