As Georgia Highlands College celebrates its 50th anniversary, the college’s library has made it possible for anyone to view historic college memorabilia from a computer or smart device through the creation of a digital archive.
The digital archive is available at 50years.highlands.edu
“We have items that highlight student organizations, marketing campaigns and events throughout the college’s history, such as a visor from our 30th anniversary and a bookmark commemorating the addition of the academic building on the Cartersville site,” Librarian Melanie Vincent said.
Memorabilia also includes apparel, school spirit décor, as well as collectibles like drinkware.
“These items really showcase what type of memorabilia was expected to come from a college back then to now,” Archives Assistant Danielle Griesemer said. “Many of our items actually come from former students either through donation or on loan.”
By accessing the college’s digital memorabilia archives, visitors will be able to view unique items that would otherwise be lost if not for donations. However, building such an archive did not come easy, requiring the library to construct a small-scale photography studio and determine the best backgrounds and lighting for the items.
“Figuring out how to best arrange and photograph the items was the most challenging aspect of the project, but it was also rewarding because I enjoyed going through the items in our collection and the ones lent to us by the community,” Vincent said.
Once all the photos were complete, the library began creating the exhibit.
“Our archives’ webpage is still new, and the memorabilia collection is the first exhibit we built for the site,” Vincent said. “I’m excited to share the final product, and I look forward to adding on to it.”
Vincent said one of the most unique items in the collection is a Floyd Junior College windbreaker, as it is only one of two items associated with the college’s first name. The college started in 1970 as Floyd Junior College before the name was changed to Floyd College and then, after multiple new sites were opened throughout Northwest Georgia, to Georgia Highlands College.
For Griesemer, one of the more notable items holds a personal connection.
“I was able to offer a 2018 Student Government Association T-shirt from my time as a student,” Griesemer said. “It is a good representation of what the college has become since the first Floyd Junior College windbreaker.”
Griesemer received an Associates of Arts degree in History from GHC in May 2019. She initially began her role as Archives Assistant as an intern, but eventually was hired part time.
“Working in the archives ties in with my education because I get to see first-hand how GHC became the institution it is today,” Griesemer said. “On the other side of that, studying history teaches the importance of eye-witness accounts and the stories behind items. Archives is a fairly specialized field in history, so being handed this opportunity provides me with skills and experiences I will be able to use as I continue pursuing this field.”
To access the digital archives, visit the 50th anniversary website, 50years.highlands.edu, click on the Memories tab, then select the Memorabilia image. An existing photo archive is available to view as well under the Memories tab.
Donations to the archive can be made by emailing Librarian Melanie Vincent at firstname.lastname@example.org