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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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June 16, 2024

‘Unexpected Treasures’ of Aggieland

Dozens+of+fantastical+maps+of+lands+ranging+from+Middle+Earth+to+Westeros+are+now+on+display+at+Cushing+Library.%26%23160%3B
Photo by Photo by Spencer Russo

Dozens of fantastical maps of lands ranging from Middle Earth to Westeros are now on display at Cushing Library. 

Embark on a journey through a diverse collection of arts, journals and objects at the Cushing Memorial Library and Archives which will leave you feeling intrigued and inspired.
From Jan. 18 to April 22, the Cushing Memorial Library and Archives is hosting its “Unexpected Treasures” exhibit, featuring diverse collections. Outreach and programming librarian for Cushing Francesca Marini said with the exhibit she hopes to give insight on what the library has to offer from its usual pieces.
“We really want to share with everybody on and off campus some of the things we have here,” Marini said. “People don’t always think about the range of items that we collect and the diversity of the collections. Ghe goal is basically to get you curious and come back [to] see more of what we have.”
When putting together the exhibit, Marini said one of the main goals was to have everyone cooperate on the process in selecting what gets featured in the exhibit.
“We wanted to show what we have in our collections and involve the public in who we are, so we worked with all the curators and everybody proposed items from their collections that they thought were important or recent acquisitions,” Marini said. “It’s been a collaborative process of people proposing different items, and then I did the final selection.”
Librarian and curator Rebecca Hankins said she worked together with Marini on contributing to the exhibit with ways to ensure the collections are made to demonstrate diversity in cultures.
“I came to Cushing Memorial Library and Archives to look into our collections and see what’s missing [and] how [I] can use diverse voices, faces [and] materials,” Hankins said. “I started adding to the science fiction and fantasy collection with more diverse voices. It was important for me to look at some of our other collections [and] made sure we were documenting the diverse populations in the United States, and so I have been infusing and adding collections to have more representation of all America’s populations.”
Psychology junior Annalise Barrientes said she believes the exhibit will bring a positive impact to the Aggie community and leave individuals more interested in A&M.
“There are people that can end up making a friend. It is another way to bond with someone else that you don’t know,” Barrientes said. “A senior in high school visit[ing] the school and see[ing] what’s unique and different from other universities … [the] exhibit could stand out.”
Marini said she finds herself loving every artifact in the exhibit and even shares some examples of what individuals can find in the exhibit.
“I have a background in theater studies, so I love objects. We have a performance dress that was worn by Lydia Mendoza, an extremely famous legendary Tejano singer. We also have some Texas A&M memorabilia that people would really like.” Marini said. “We have a very rare item from our military collections: a diary [of] a lady that was from the Netherlands. She went back to visit … at the time of the Nazi invasion during WWII.”
Hankins said she hopes the exhibit will impact individuals by giving them the opportunity to take advantage of the unknown knowledge and to make new discoveries.
“We want them to come and take advantage [of] the material, not just to look at the diverse materials that we house, but to use them to build new knowledge [and] enhance the knowledge that we already have,” Hankins said. “Material at Cushing can [help] you find out about unsung heroes, these individuals who were not just the famous, but those who everyday we’re showing up and being a part of the communities.”
Marini said individuals wishing to find out more information about future exhibits should visit their website, drop by the library and look out for advertisements.
“Check the website; we have an exhibition page with current exhibitions, upcoming exhibitions and also past exhibitions,” Marini said. “Give us a call and stay tuned, because you might hear announcements on the radio or see advertisements.”
Hankins also invites students to come out to the archives and make use of the resources they have to offer.
“I encourage students all the time to come. What the archives does is spark your creativity to get you thinking and being critical about what you have seen. I have a real passion for the work that we do, because I think it moves people,” Hankins said. “You have to come in and touch the documents and feel what people are writing and see how it can change your life — it changed mine.”

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