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Special Collections links students to Rexburg’s past


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Throughout the research process, Luke said students can find pieces of history, and employees can offer assistance to help students find the direct sources to connect the facts to create a clearer picture.

Luke said some teachers schedule tours to help students with class projects and explore specific items for students in various disciplines, such as communication, religion, humanities and English classes.

Emily Durland, a sophomore studying nursing, toured the special collections with her Book of Mormon class and saw bibles, manuscripts and one of the first copies of the Book of Mormon.

Durland said she particularly liked the original copy of the Book of Mormon and did not expect the school to have such neat things.

Durland said she listened to a presentation with her class tour and said she found the material was cohesive and found the employees were helpful as they went around and answered all the students’ questions.

To satisfy those with a need to touch, Luke said a unique aspect about the collections is that they allow students hands-on experience with most of the artifacts.

Unlike keeping their artifacts behind glass, Luke said the tour guides will pass around some artifacts. However, the collections employees must balance how they handle artifacts due to breakdown and preservation risks.

“Everyone likes our rare books and bibles,” Luke said. “That’s kind of the wow factor.”

Luke said anyone can request special items and get a close look by asking special collections employees; however, all items are not allowed to circulate outside the room.

Luke said, for the very rare things, the employees prefer people come in as a group so the employees do not have to keep bringing the artifact back and forth, in order to preserve it.

Luke said the oldest artifact they have is the Cuneiform peg from Mesopotamia 2100 B.C. over 4,000 years old, a clay cylinder put into buildings with indents of codes including information about the builder and the building.

Luke said the collections must be judicial about attaining antiques that were not stolen, along with making sure the items were acquired ethically.

The Special Collections and Archives are open Monday through Friday fom 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.



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