With football season just around the corner, the Special Collections Department at the Marriott Library has put together a retrospective exhibit of Utah football traditions in order to invoke pride in viewers.
The exhibit, “Running with the Utes,” is the result of the collaborative efforts of Special Collections, the Athletics Department, alumni and student volunteers. Work on the project began in May when Alfred Mowdood, an associate librarian, suggested constructing an exhibit to highlight the season.
“We arranged the whole reading room so that people would have access to this exhibit,” said Roy Webb, multimedia archivist for Special Collections. “So this is really the kick-off, you could say. We can show off the treasures of Special Collections, because this is a locked space, with motion sensors and everything.”
The walls of the exhibit are hung with panels showcasing football photographs from the collection’s archives, cut and pasted together to tell a story about the Utes that spans a century.
“One of my favorites is the Cummings Field photograph,” said Kristin Giacoletto, assistant photo archivist.
Cummings Field was the U’s first football stadium, and the photo shows a game during wintery weather, with a horse and buggy tied up outside of the stadium. In the exhibit, the photo is juxtaposed against a more recent stadium photograph, with the parking lot jammed with cars. Webb joked that parking has always been a problem on campus.
The exhibit utilizes other mediums as well. Recently acquired cases display 3D items donated by the Athletics Department and alumni, such as an old football uniform, photo albums and study reels.
The reels, on display with a camera that would be used to play them, contain footage of schools currently in the Pac-12. Another archivist went through the archives and pulled reels from schools such as the University of Washington and Stanford, which were once used for training, Giacoletto said.
Rolled up reels aren’t the only films on display. The team is also putting together a highlight reel that will run continuously.
“The earliest footage we’re using is from a football game in 1935,” Webb said. “We’ll have a clip of that. Most of the footage will be from the ’50s through the ’70s.”
While compiling material for the exhibit, the team also relied on copies of the Utonian, the U’s yearbook, which was in publication from 1905 until 1981.
“They are a fabulous resource for what campus was like, and what campus life was like,” Webb said. “It’s really fun to work with those.”
Giacoletto also said the unique combination of artifacts on display is available because of the integrated effort of many people on all levels of several departments.
“People even volunteered to cut cardboard and Velcro to put this together,” she said. “It’s been really exciting.”
The exhibit is on display until Sept. 27 in the Special Collections Reading Room on level 4 of the Marriott Library from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. It is free and open to the public.