“Ask the Archivist” is a new column on the blog. Christina Zamon (Iwasaki Library) will answer your questions about the Archives and its collections. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What can I see in the Archives?
I often have requests from people who want to come in and “see the Archives” when there really isn’t much to see…unless you love looking at shelves full of boxes and books.
Although an archive is not a museum, it does contain many artifacts. It is hard to say which of the artifacts held by the Archives is the oldest as they don’t necessarily come with dates. But there are some rather interesting ones.
For example, our collection includes Sylvia Lewis’s wedding gown from her second marriage and a dress that she wore in a Chevy commercial and on the red carpet. We also have a radio that was donated to us from alumnus Ed McMahon; board games, cardboard cutouts, dolls, T‐shirts, and toys from comedy collector Warren Debenham; a MacGyver backpack; Happy Days fan memorabilia; and a makeup mask from alumnus Henry Winkler. We also have Hakata dolls, masks, and a Japanese suit of armor from Shoo Iwasaki.
The collection also includes institutional artifacts such as scale models of campuses; shovels and hard hats from various construction projects; doors, windows, chairs, and lights from the Majestic Theatre; and a concrete face from the facade of the Paramount Theater.