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A glimpse of OHIO history

Baker Center to feature OHIO film and artifact collections
Feb 15, 2010
By Monica Chapman

Bill Kimok equates his first glimpse of Ohio University to the appearance of the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz. ?I thought, ?This is how a university should feel,?? he recalls. 

Today, as university archivist and records manager, Kimok?s career is dedicated to preserving glimpses of Ohio University?s rich history. Through a collection of films and artifacts at Baker University Center, he hopes to personalize the historical component of this year?s Founder?s Day celebration. 

Portions of six films featuring Ohio University between 1930 and 1985 will broadcast on televisions throughout Baker University Center on Feb. 19. From the silent black-and-white footage of campus scenes in the 1930s to an artistically edited 1974 recruiting film, the collection illustrates the progression of time since the university?s historic founding.

?We?re representing six decades of change over time,? said Kimok. ?But also, there?s some continuity. One way or the other, despite the addition or subtraction of buildings, the university has always maintained a consistent look.? 

The reels are also among the first of the Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections? 16 mm film collection to be digitized ? an initiative that Kimok plans to continue.   

?I have been excited about (digitizing these films) for a long time, but when I heard that we were going to be invited to help with Founders Day, it gave me a little bit of a catalyst,? he said. 

In addition to the film broadcasts, a large display of historic memorabilia will be available to the public on the third floor lounge of the Baker University Center Atrium. Included will be historic copies of The Post, yearbooks, scrap books, dance cards, student handbooks, football programs and more. 

And Kimok ? who takes a hands-on approach when it comes to archive displays ? is hoping that the collection takes a bit of wear over the course of the day. 

?I pile it up on tables, set it out purposefully, so that it looks disorganized so that people aren?t afraid to come along and pick it up,? he said. ?I?ll say, ?If I see this stuff in the same shape that it?s in now when you leave, I?m going to be really irritated.??

?There is kind of an aesthetic joy of being able to get one?s hands on an original photograph or an original document, and I try to bring that to the university community in any way that I can.?

Published: Feb 15, 2010 8:12 AM


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