Aha! in the Archives — Video Shorts

The Obermann Center—with the help of our talented intern, Shannon Nolan—is producing a series of short videos featuring stories about “aha!” moments in the archives—times when a researcher or artist found something that altered a project or their way of thinking and feeling about a topic.

Tunneling through the Text

Giselle Simon, Conservator at the University of Iowa Libraries and Adjunct Faculty at the University of Iowa Center for the Book, shares an unusual and, to her, living book from the university’s significant collection representing the book arts.


“In a Box Right Here!” — A Map Showing Explorer 1‘s Orbit Path

Physics & Astronomy professor Cornelia Lang and third-year physics major Zach Luppen discuss their research in the James Van Allen collection at UI Special Collections toward an exhibit on space research at the University of Iowa.


A Murder Weapon in the Stacks

Playwright, actor, and director Maggie Conroy shares her story of wandering through the UI Library’s archives, looking for inspiration while writing a mystery play.


The Origins of Iowa’s First—and Only—Teacher’s Strike, in Keokuk, 1970

John McKerley, of the UI Labor Center, talks about a moment of discovery in the archives pertaining to the Iowa Labor History Oral Project, which he oversees. The collection is at the State Historical Society of Iowa in Iowa City and is open to the public.


“This Is Where I Want to Be”

UI Archivist Peter Balestrieri shares his joy at realizing his place in the archives.


Archie in the Archives

Ashley Wells (lecturer, Rhetoric) talks about how she used old comics from UI Special Collections as part of her Rhetoric class’ preparation for a visit with Hancher’s Embracing Complexity artist G. Willow Wilson.


What Happened to the UI’s Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women?

Diane Williams (graduate student, American Studies/Sport Studies) shares a discovery moment in the Iowa Women’s Archives.


What Was It Like to Be an African American Student at the UI in the ’30s?

Lena Hill (English, African American Studies) describes her use of University of Iowa Special Collections for the collected edition Invisible Hawkeyes (University of Iowa Press, 2016).


Sifting through Affidavits at the UI College of Law Library

Rachel Williams (Gender, Women’s, & Sexuality Studies and Art & Art History) shares such a moment regarding two letters she located in the UI Law Library. Williams will present her work on the Detroit riots of 1943 at the symposium on Saturday, March 3.