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Department of Special Collections

May 4, 2010

The mission of the Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections, Chester Fritz Library, is to identify, acquire, preserve, and make available published resources and historical records [...]

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So why do we keep all this stuff, anyway?

Collecting things seems to be a natural human tendency. The first recorded collection by a human is a group of white pebbles gathered by someone who lived in a cave in France about 80,000 years ago. While we will probably never know why this particular collection was made, we know that people collect things out of curiosity, as souvenirs, out of an interest in a particular subject, for aesthetic reasons, and even competitively (the Guinness Book of World Records lists the largest collections of all sorts of objects) [...]

Collections are the Heart of Hands-on Learning

It’s a small, simple weaving, warmly earth-toned, looking like something my grandmother might have made a few years ago. Only this sample, tucked away in a safe in anthropologist Melinda Leach’s laboratory, was woven from cotton fibers spun in an Andean village 1,000 years ago [...]

From "Abstract" to Insight

When it comes to collections, one person’s conglomeration of seemingly meaningless material can be another person’s gold mine [...]

Maize Collection Traces Genetics and Mutations

“Greenhouse” sounds familiar to most of us today. But in this case, we’re talking about “Operation Greenhouse,” a 1940s American atomic bomb test program [...]

Answering the Call

Tons of earth are moved annually by mining and construction companies. Mostly, that’s pretty routine. But once in a while, something comes up that requires the special research skills of UND archaeologist Dennis Toom [...]

UND In Focus

Photographs of related to UND Research

No Bones About It

James Weldon Johnson’s famous spiritual “Dem Dry Bones” says in song what Dr. Phoebe Stubblefield’s bone collection tells her students today: how the pieces of human skeleton fit together from head to toe [...]

Small Clues to Huge Stories about Energy and Climate Change

As collections go, this one is truly minuscule, maybe a handful of samples in a drawer. And, notes the collector, the samples are falling apart [...]

Nurturing Young Scientists

For Crystal, N.D., native Kali Anne Shephard, going to sports events wasn’t as exciting as it was for some of her high school classmates. Her parents spent a lot more time getting Kali to an entirely different kind of after-school activity [...]