With Midwestern State University marking its centennial, Tracee Robertson, director of the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU Texas, wondered what the museum could do to be part of the celebration.
She wanted to display items that show the university’s academics and the wide range of learning that has occurred through the past 100 years and is still happening. “When you learn about the objects a university has, you learn more about the university’s story and perhaps feel more a part of it,” Robertson said.
With the help of undergraduate student Callie Bishop, Robertson and museum staff gathered pieces of collections from the Moffett Library and the individual colleges, and the “Belong, Connect, Discover: 100 Years of MSU Texas Treasures” was created.
The exhibition is organized along a timeline, with the diverse objects showing the broad scope of resources that MSU Texas has – geological specimens from the Kimbell School of Geosciences, X-ray equipment dating from 1900-1970 from The Shimadzu School of Radiologic Sciences Collection, art from the Ralph and Juanita Harvey School of Visual Arts, specimens from the McCoy College of Science, Mathematics & Engineering’s Department of Biology mammal collection.
Moffett Library has loaned centuries-old illuminated manuscript pages from the Nolan A. Moore III Heritage of Print Collection. Also from Moffett are maps from the Forrest D. Monahan Collection. The former MSU Texas history professor collected more than 500 railroad maps, guides, photographs, journals, and books about the American railroad system. He was president
of the Wichita Railroad Museum and was an expert on the North Texas and Oklahoma railroad system, instrumental in Wichita Falls’s development.
Photos of school children in Wichita Falls, New Mexico, and Europe from the 1980s by artist Dick Hall once lined the walls of the Ferguson Building when it was home to the Gordon T. and Ellen West College of Education. These candid photos, now part of the museum’s collection, capture moments where childhood and education overlap.
Museum collections highlighted are the Caldecott Collection, the quilt collection, and the C.A. Fuhs Collection of photographs. Fuhs’ photos show the boom town of Wichita Falls during the 1920s.
A Midwestern Aggies jacket from the 1950s reminds viewers of the area’s rich agricultural history.
Grants from the Fain Foundation, Bryant Edwards Foundation, and the J.S. Bridwell Foundation helped the museum compensate the undergraduate student.
Robertson said that seeing the objects is intended to strike a chord with viewers. “That’s the purpose, to develop a sense of belonging by learning the stories that these objects tell. The University’s collections tell the story of a place through time, of the people and milestones that make a place vibrant. They tell the story of a university where you also belong, contribute, and have the opportunity to shape the story for the future.”
The exhibition will be on display through Oct. 1. The Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU Texas is located at 2 Eureka Circle, Wichita Falls, Texas 76308. Museum hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, with extended hours on Thursdays until 7 p.m. and 1-5 p.m. Saturday. Call the museum at 940-397-8900 for more information.
“30 Minutes with the Expert”
In conjunction with the exhibition, the museum will present “30 Minutes with the Expert” at 5:30 p.m. Thursdays and 1:30 p.m. Saturdays in September, with university personnel discussing aspects of the exhibition.
5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1 Associate Professor of Biology Ray Willis.
1:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3 Professor of Biology William Cook.
1:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10 Chair and Prothro Distinguished Associate Professor of Geological Sciences Jonathan Price.
5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15 Special Collections Librarian Alissa Russell.
5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24 Professor of Radiological Sciences Beth Veale.
1:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1 WFMA at MSU Texas Curator of Collections and Exhibitions Danny Bills.