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Contributed by Stacy Young, University of Akron student/CCHP Student Assistant.

CCHP: What led you to us?

SY: I previously attended the Museums and Archives class that is offered by the University of Akron and the Drs. Nicholas and Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology.

CCHP: What were you looking for and why?

SY: We were assigned to go through contentDM and browse through the artifacts. We were then to choose four artifacts that we liked the best. One of the objects that I chose was titled “Unidentified”, but it was part of the Walter Miles collection. I was hoping that within searching his collection I would come across documentation pertaining to the object.

CCHP: What did you find?

SY: Searching the collection I came across a diary that Walter Miles kept. Within this diary, there was a chapter that dated to the exact date that was located on the tag of my artifact.

Diary page from the Walter R. and Catharine Cox Miles papers, M1160, Folder 2.

Diary page from the Walter R. and Catharine Cox Miles papers, M1160, Folder 2.

 

CCHP: Were there any fun, interesting, or unexpected surprises?

SY: The diary gave interesting information that not only pertained to the day, but also to the artifact. In the chapter Miles stated that he was sending a piece of the object back to Rudolph due to it being dull. With further research I was able to find out that during the 1930s O.C. Rudolph was not only an inventor, but creating and manufacturing polarimeters here in the United States. By researching the polarimeters and comparing it to the artifact I have found that my artifact was constructed similar to O.C. Rudolph’s polarimeter and the manufactures mark is located on top of the artifacts case.

CCHP: What’s next?

SY: The next step I took was bringing all of my research to my peers, Dr. Kearns, and Fran who were as excited about the find as I was. My peers and I were able to include all of the research that was obtained into our exhibit. Since then Dr. Kearns and Emily have informed me that the contentDM will be changed from reading “Unidentified” to reading “Polarimeter”.

CCHP: Any other thoughts?

SY: Although researching the object was an assignment for our project, it was extremely exiting to find and I encourage everyone that is able to include research from an archives to do so. Being able to do research at an archives not only gives you an opportunity to have primary sources of information, but it also gives you an opportunity to observe the object yourself.

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-contributed by Veronica Bagley, undergraduate student in the Museums & Archives Certificate Program.

What do a polygraph kit, ouija board, and Stanford Prison experiment skateboard have in common? They’re all objects in the Drs. Nicholas & Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology artifact collection, and they’re all going to be on a temporary exhibit in Glimpses into the History of Psychology through Artifacts. These are just a few objects students in the Foundations of Museums and Archives class have been researching for their final project, putting together an exhibit.

Some of the objects that will be on exhibit.

Students in the Foundations of Museums and Archives Class have been spending this semester putting together an exhibit, from start to finish, to be displayed at the CCHP. In the first half of the class during Fall semester, each student selected a few items from the collection that they found interesting. Now during Spring semester, those objects are becoming one exhibit. Students picked objects covering multiple fields of psychology, including paranormal, perception, animal training, education, and popular psychology.

Though the objects in the exhibit are all very different, students have studied how they relate to psychology or how they may have been used by psychologists. Visitors to the exhibit will be able to learn about the history of psychology through a variety of fields. One of the objects I spent a large amount of time researching was a homemade “Spirit Writing Board,” for which we had little information on. I was able to use resources in the archives to research the practice of spirit writing, and through my research I learned about the field of “Parapsychology.” I even contacted an expert from The Parapsychological Association who sent me even more resources about this board and how it may have been used. Before I took this class, I did not even know this field of psychology existed! Visitors to the exhibit will be able to see the Spirit Writing Board on display, along with other objects from the field of Parapsychology. From visiting this exhibit, we hope visitors will be able to learn how broad the field of psychology is, and how it is applied in other fields.

Though the research process could be frustrating at times, especially with objects without much information attached to them, the class had some great finds! An object previously labeled as “Unidentified” became identified as a Polarimeter. Stacy Young, another student in the class, selected this object and had the task of researching it for the exhibit. From the tag on the object, she was able to start some research in the archives and found a journal that described the unidentified object. It was an incredible discovery and required some serious detective work! The Polarimeter will also be on display in the exhibit.

The label Stacy used to start her research on the Unidentified Object.

After spending the first eleven weeks of the semester researching objects and making decisions about exhibit design, the last several weeks will be spent installing the exhibit. The exhibit is also sponsored by the EX[L] Center: https://www.uakron.edu/exl/. We are very grateful for their donation to help us put together this exhibit!

The opening reception for Glimpses into the History of Psychology through Artifacts will be May 6, 2017 from 4-6 pm, and regular open hours will be Tuesdays May 9 through August 15, 2017, from 1-3pm. Admission is free. It will be located at:

Gallery C, First Floor Drs. Nicholas & Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology

The University of Akron Roadway Building

73 S. College Street

Akron, OH 44325-4302

The final exhibit project for this class fulfills the requirements for students in 1900:302 Foundations in Museums and Archives II at the Institute for Human Science and Culture. The class is a requirement for a Museums and Archives Certificate through the University of Akron. If you are interested in the program, contact Dr. Jodi Kearns at jkearns@uakron.edu for information.

Objects for the exhibit, laid out for research.

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– contributed by Cate Conley, Museums & Archives Certificate student.

 

“We shape our buildings, therefore they shape us.” – Winston Churchill

 

When looking at the buildings that make up The University of Akron, most people will immediately recognize the newer structures on campus, such as Infocision Stadium, the Student Union, Stile Athletics Field House, and the new dorms.  But, not many people think of the buildings that existed on campus before they were considered University property and their roles in shaping not only The University of Akron, but the community of Akron, Ohio as a whole.  As students, faculty, and staff at the University or as members of the community, we have an obligation to ourselves and to those who have yet to experience Akron, to participate in the discussion of what shapes us… what shapes our city.

On May 7, 2016 from 3-5pm students will hold an opening reception to unveil an exhibit within the Akron-Summit County Public Library’s Special Collections showcase titled The University of Akron Repurposes Akron History: Polsky’s, Quaker Square, Roadway, & St. Paul’s. The exhibition highlights the significance and value of these buildings to the University, the community, and Akron’s history. The exhibition opening is free to the public, so come visit and tell us what you think! We ask you to participate in the conversation of preservation  and the adaptive reuse of these historical buildings.  Their continued use and/or demolition shapes our future not just as students, but as members of this community.

This exhibit opens during with May’s Akron Art Walk and will be available for viewing during the Akron-Summit County Public Library, Main Library (60 S. High Street, Akron, OH 44326) from May 7 through August 21, 2016. You can visit during regular library hours.

[This exhibit is designed and installed by students participating in the Museums and Archives certificate program run by the Institute of Human Science and Culture (IHSC) at the Drs. Nicholas & Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology (CCHP). For more information about enrolling in the program, please contact Dr. Jodi Kearns, jkearns@uakron.edu.]

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-Contributed by Cori Iannaggi.

As a volunteer for the CCHP, I have had the opportunity to do a variety of different projects. When I first started in the summer of 2012, the first task assigned to me was to go through and identify the uncataloged objects within the collection. To me this was like being a kid in the candy store! I would open up the boxes and find all of these cool and unusual objects – some of them being objects I was familiar with, but most of them being objects I had no idea what they were. As undergraduate in psychology, I went into this project thinking I was going to be able to identify these objects with no problem, but it soon became apparent to me that I didn’t know as much as I thought I did (shocker?…not really).

As I began going through the collection, I found myself coming across a lot of the same items, like shock boxes, timers, lenses, and of course, tuning forks (it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t come across at least one a day)! While all of these regular finds were intriguing and valuable to the field of psychology, it was the days that I came across the abnormal and curious that were the best.

Lens kit #329b from Walter R. Miles and Catharine Cox Miles papers

Lens kit #329b
from Walter R. Miles and Catharine Cox Miles papers

Master shocker unit #419 Donated by Ryan Tweney / Bowling Green University

Master shocker unit #419
Donated by Ryan Tweney / Bowling Green University

Tuning Forks!

Tuning Forks!

Fast forward two years later, and I am now a graduate student in the Kent State University Library and Information Science program specializing in museum studies. Even though the collection project I did only lasted one summer, I regularly thought about how much fun I had working with the collection, and of all the wonderful objects I was in contact with on a daily basis. It then dawned on me that the fascinating and unusual objects I found would make a terrific exhibit. This would give me a chance to work with the collection again and allow the public the opportunity to see objects they normally wouldn’t have the chance of seeing (win-win in my eyes!).

Cori Iannaggi with her Cabinet of Wonder

Cori Iannaggi with her Cabinet of Wonder

Located in the CCHP’s reading room, Cabinet of Wonders highlights all of my favorite finds from the collection project back in 2012. The exhibit is broken in to two sections:

  • The Unusual – Highlighting the exciting, surprising, and simply put, cool objects, found in the collection.
  • The Unknown – A selection of objects I was unable to identify during my research.

The unknown section also gives visitors an opportunity to share their psychology knowledge with me by encouraging them to identify the unknown objects on exhibit. A notebook was placed outside the case and provides space for visitors to tell me anything they know about the objects I could not identify. Once the objects are identified, they will be removed and another object will be added. If you are unable to make it to the exhibit, we will also be posting pictures of the unknown objects on the CCHP Facebook and Twitter pages in the hopes of increasing the odds of identification.

In fact, why not start now?! Do you know what this object is and how it’s related to the field of psychology?

Unidentified Object #212

Unidentified Object #212

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