Making history come alive

Clock strike 12 campaign graphic

The Wiggins Memorial Library team understands the value of preserving Campbell University’s rich history. Through caring for and digitizing archives, the library staff seeks to honor our past, celebrate ourselves as an institution and share our history with students, faculty, staff and friends.

But the mission doesn’t stop at preservation. Alexia Riggs, dean of the library asserts, “It’s not enough to preserve history; you have to make history accessible.”

Not only are Riggs and her team archive enthusiasts, they are also problem-solvers. The mission: make history come alive for the Campbell community. The problem: the absence of a public display area for archive items. The solution: renovate the University Room to be used as an exhibit for Campbell archives. 

The University Room

The University Room is a combo study space/conference room/presidential archival display area on the second floor of Wiggins Memorial Library. This space currently houses a couple display cases with a handful of presidential archives. However, Steve Bahnaman (reference and electronic resources librarian), Riggs and others understood the potential of this room. Their vision was to establish a rotating, interactive exhibit to celebrate our past and allow the Campbell community to be in the midst of history.

One permanent archive that will find its home in the University Room is an early 20th century clock.

The Clock

Our founders understood the importance of time and using it wisely. Beginning in the 1930s, an International Business Machines clock sat in Leslie Campbell’s office. This IBM clock (yes, that IBM) synchronized the entire school’s class schedule by ringing the bells in D. Rich Hall. No other time and no other clock mattered.

Over time, Campbell stopped using bells and the clock fell into disrepair. Now with their focus on preserving and displaying archives, the library plans to refurbish the clock to serve as a central show piece of the University Room.

The Campaign

Of course, all of these hopes and dreams of renovating the University Room would remain just that, hopes and dreams, without the resources necessary to make the plan a reality. After teaming up with the office of annual giving and utilizing their Campbell Crowdfunding program, Riggs, Bahnaman and team launched the “Clock Strikes 12” campaign, a six-week crowdfunding initiative to raise funds necessary to refurbish the clock, renovate the room and purchase proper display cases for archives. The campaign, which ended on March 18 inspired over 100 people to contribute $12,236, surpassing the goal. Renovations will take place over the summer and the library hopes to have the University Room up and running by October 1. 

Listen to Riggs and Bahnaman discuss this project on the Rhymes with Orange Podcast here: Rhymes with Orange Podcast, episode 64.