"I’m Still Geeking Out About It!"

That’s one of my favorite lines from the movie The Incredibles. And I don’t mind admitting that I was in full history geek mode earlier this week when I took my New Media class to see some selections from the Remnant Trust collection. (I’ve provided a link to the Trust’s website, but it’s out of date and isn’t nearly as impressive as the collection. Here’s a link on WT’s site with an accompanying video.)
WT currently has about 50 pieces from the Trust. The reason this is such a big deal is because we can touch these texts. Usually, texts of this kind are kept behind protective glass or never even go on display. It’s really an incredible opportunity. I told my students that they would likely never have this kind of opportunity again.
Here are just a few of the pieces we got to examine during last week’s trip to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum:
  • A written copy of the Magna Carta from 1350
  • A printed copy of Aristotle’s work from the late 15th century
  • The Nuremberg Chronicle circa 1500
  • A reprinting of John Milton’s Areopagitica
  • A first edition, first printing of the King James Bible from 1611
  • An original publication of the Federalist Papers from 1788
  • An original Emancipation Proclamation from 1862
Perhaps the greatest part of the class was watching how my students interacted with the texts — and themselves. They whispered to each other, pointed out interesting things to their neighbors, and, after class, took each others’ photos with these rare works.
It was also rewarding to have brief conversations with some of them about the books they were holding or about how cool this opportunity was for them. I plan to take my other two classes, as well.
3 Responses to “"I’m Still Geeking Out About It!"”
  1. faeriehazel says:

    I remember listening to an interview on NPR, I think, about a museum curator who was bringing the Magna Carta from England over to the US for an exhibition, and how the customs agents kept wanting him to open the case on the spot so they could verify the contents despite the fact that he had all the proper paperwork. He was all, "What Neanderthals!"

  2. Anonymous says:

    Butler…glad to see you back in the states. I had been following your Korea blog and enjoying the photos when it disappeared. I did not know what happened.Give me a shout.dennis lathem

  3. Dude, your students got to touch documents from 1350!?! That's AWESOME!-Not Greg Brown, 'cause he would never get excited about something as geeky as that.

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