The University Archives is home to all things old. Located in Low Library through the Summer of 2007, the collection was moved to Butler's 6th floor where it shares space with the Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Though billed as a beneficial expansion of the Archives (its opening hours were extended), the lion's share of its collection is being shipped off to an off-site shelving facility Plainsboro, NJ. The beautiful King's College Room (the closest thing Columbia has to a history museum) was closed. The new occupant is slated to be the coherent and effective (or not) Committee on Global Thought.
The Archives consist of two major collections: the University's non-current records, and the Columbiana Collection--Columbia's institutional memory. Pretty much everything you ever wanted to know is here. Architectural drawings of buildings built, and unbuilt. Subject folders with newspaper clippings and photos of student groups and major campus events.
Naturally the most heavily perused materials tend to be those relating to the 1968 protests.
The collection is probably the most interesting bit of Columbia that almost no one sees. The few vestiges of the archives that are on view outside tend to be in places that students don't go, including the Visitor's Center, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, and in the back alleys of Lerner Hall (check out the photos hanging on the 5th floor hallway to SDA).
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