Glimpses of NDSU history available for viewing
It’s a North Dakota State University historical treasure literally at your fingertips. The University Archives has placed thousands of images on a Flickr website for the public to enjoy.
The photographs go back to the 1890s, depicting everything from long-ago athletic contests to memorable student events to fascinating scenes of campus life through the decades. A total of 3,200 items are displayed in 19 collections, and the exhibit keeps growing.
“The Flickr site is a great opportunity to showcase the rich history of NDSU to interested parties. We encourage people to visit the website because we think it is a lot of fun for students, alumni, faculty, staff and prospective students,” said Michael Robinson, director of the archives. “It’s truly a work in progress. Right now, we are adding men’s and women’s basketball collections and photographs about modern dance on campus. If there is something of interest, we will go after it. If we can find enough images, we’ll make a collection.”
The website began rather humbly in June 2010, with a set of photographs chronicling the history of the Alba Bales House on the NDSU campus. A gallery of past and present campus buildings, photos of NDSU presidents and a series of pictures featuring past student festivals followed the initial collection. Photographs of homecoming and commencement ceremonies, theater productions and sports teams came next.
“We had no idea it would become so popular. As of Jan. 9, the website has had more than 208,000 hits,” Robinson said. “It’s a fun site to explore the history of the university, and it’s most gratifying that so many people have taken a look.”
Robinson adds the recent success of Bison Athletics has helped, too.
“With all the interest in the Bison football team just winning the national championship, we found the collection of old NDSU/NDAC football pictures became very, very popular,” he said.
The Flickr site is seen as a component of the archives’ commitment to making rare historical materials accessible to North Dakotans and people across the region. The site also gives visitors an opportunity to comment or supply information about an image.
“We wanted to create an exhibit page that is quick and easy,” Robinson said, noting hard copies of the photographs are available for a small fee. “I am looking forward to a half-million hits in the next year or two.”
You can visit the Flickr photostream of NDSU historical images at www.flickr.com/photos/ndsu-university-archives/collections.