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University Archives provide link to past

Located on the sixth floor of Bird Library, the SU archives offer a look into the school's past.

Discover more Campus Secrets uncovered by our reporters.

Although some Syracuse University students can go four years without setting foot on the sixth floor of E.S. Bird Library to visit the university archives, Ed Galvin doesn’t mind.

“Sometimes being a secret can be a blessing,” said Galvin, director of the archives, university archivist and university records manager. After all, Galvin said, the staff of Archives and Records Management is already busy handling between 4,000 and 5,000 requests for materials each year from inside and outside the university.

The archives handle the preservation of materials relating to SU, from the Hall of Languages’ original doorknobs to select personal records from each SU chancellor. A staff of seven oversees the archives and records collections, with four staff members working at Bird and three at The Records Center in the Hawkins Building on Jamesville Road. The Records Center stores university records that must be retained for legal or administrative reasons but are not frequently referenced.

Beyond the staff’s work caring for the records of the university, the archives staff also plans events relating to Remembrance Week, which honors the victims of Pan Am 103, and Orange Central, SU’s Homecoming celebration. More recently, the archives staff has also kept busy working on a book of SU history, as told through photos.

The archives staff gives priority to inquiries from SU students, faculty, staff and alumni, but the general public is also welcome to access the archives. The archives are regularly open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday, excluding SU’s Thanksgiving and winter break, and additionally during the fall and spring semesters from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The staff also regularly manages a website that hosts digital collections and posts frequently asked questions.

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