Exploring STEMM in the Archives

When you think of “STEMM” — Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, & Medicine — what is the first thing that comes to mind? Okay, we admit we’re betting it probably wasn’t Special Collections & Archives.

Isn’t the Archives full of old history stuff, not science?

Au contraire, my friend. Special Collections & Archives is full of materials that fit the description of both “old history stuff” and STEMM materials.  Our collection focus areas include the history of aviation & aviation technology, the history of the Miami Valley (a hotbed of invention and innovation for over 100 years), and the history of medicine. And what is science but a collection of knowledge in a certain field, which can be formulated into laws and truths and then built upon?

Early medical equipment from our collection, mostly 19th century

Early medical equipment from our collection, mostly 19th century

We just happen to be the custodians of materials from some of those earlier efforts, including the notes and tools of their creators, as well as some of their study materials from the school days when they first learned how to “do” science.

Recently, Special Collections & Archives participated as part of the University Libraries’ sessions of Exploring STEMM, one of WSU’s Pre-College Programs. Teams of students participated in a friendly competition while learning about the University Libraries. The competition included answering questions based on a set of clues, documenting those answers with photographs, and ultimately creating a video with their results.

Archivist Gino Pasi shared some of our science and medicine materials with the teams, then they answered their clues and took their pictures.

Archivist Gino Pasi explaining the items on the table to a group of Exploring STEMM students, June 22, 2015

Archivist Gino Pasi explaining the items on the table to a group of Exploring STEMM students, June 22, 2015

Students trying on archivists' protective clothing

Students trying on archivists’ protective clothing

Students with Orville Wright's botany sketchbook and their team banner.

Students with Orville Wright’s botany sketchbook and their team banner.

Here are some close-ups of some of the materials shared with the students during our Exploring STEMM sessions:

Physician's pocket medical case

Physician’s pocket medical case

Surgeon's kit

Surgeon’s kit

Early 19th century medical books

Early 19th century medical books

Physician's pocket medical case, mortar and pestle

Physician’s pocket medical case, mortar and pestle

Orville Wright's botany sketch book, 1887-1888 (MS-1)

Orville Wright’s botany sketch book, 1887-1888 (MS-1)

Wallpaper with calculations scribbled on the back by one of the Wright Brothers-- because you never know when the urge to do science may strike! (MS-1)

Wallpaper with calculations scribbled on the back by one of the Wright Brothers– because you never know when the urge to do science may strike! (MS-1)

Charles F. Kettering's chemistry notebook (MS-363)

Charles F. Kettering’s chemistry notebook, 1910-1912 (MS-363)

In all, approximately 45 students participated in the Special Collections & Archives sessions of Exploring STEMM. It was a fun program, and we’re glad they could join us!

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