Monthly Archives: September 2014

Displays’ aftermath

Recently I have seen how much care goes in the preparation of a display. But what happens when everything is over and the display is taken down? I never thought of asking that question, but the answer is: they land in a big box. 🙂
I busied myself recently with sifting through what have left after a dozen of displays. The pictures, dummy prints, labels- all mixed up thoroughly with the paper decorations. The winter stars with remembrance poppies, blue tack sticking to everything like ancient toothpaste. In short- huge mess. It fell to me to separate the wheat from the chaff and see if there is anything useful in the tangled jungle of old papers. Good display materials on one pile, fatigued on the other, scrap paper to the side… It took me three hours to see the bottom of the box. Maybe I missed my calling; maybe I should have become a saint.:-)
It might be good if we could do that early on. Dismantle, sort, put away. Some places have people employed just to do that. Then we would have one label stating who Kay-Shuttleworth was, instead of the four I found. 🙂 But in the end, that kind of work wasn’t without its rewards. I got to see new pictures, read what questions were put in the exams in early 1900s’ and found some interesting subject for future posts. Overall- a day well spent.
In a way, a display is like a Buddhist sand mandala- built to be seen for a short period of time, and then dismantled. It is impermanent, so go see one while you can. It will become a pile materials soon enough.

Displays dismantled- when the learning becomes papercut hazard

Displays dismantled- when the learning becomes papercut hazard

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Creative archives

As I mentioned before, my blog post ‘8 quirky things about Marjon’ was just adapted to a display in the library. I could tell you about the realities of inadequate display capabilities, but I hate to repeat myself and whining is bad for your skin anyway:-)
No, I think I want to say something about creativity and how it relates to what we do in the archives. Before I came to the archives I never thought that creativity can be of any use for that kind of work. And yet we have two photographers in our ranks. Soon we might also have a quite skilled drawing artist. I am using my creative writing skills to write a new story about the archives every week. However, this is only the one of the ways I can exercise my creativity. While working on the display I felt I could utilise much more than that. No matter how good it is to write about things, there is something special in assembling something with your own hands. From the planning stage, through the agonizing over the arrangements and preparing the materials, until the final moment when you know it is finish. Now I can enter the library, look right and left, then say to myself: ‘I made that’. I just hope that the new students aren’t too stressed to notice the display. And I know there are much more in the archives that just beg to be shown to the world. Well, maybe some day:-)


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8 quirky things about Marjon

The new academic year is just around the corner and I still can’t believe it will go on without me :-(.
For some it is the beginning of their relationship with Marjon. So for all those who are just joining: here is what makes Marjon- Marjon.
1. The mysterious machine.

mysteriousmachineFrom the depths of our storages comes this mysterious machine. For the longest time it was a part of our scientific equipment, until everyone forgot what it is and what it was
used for. This handmade apparatus was speculated to be some kind of distillation
device until finally proven by its documentation to be a device to
experiment upon the thermal conductivity of copper under different conditions


2. Chelsea site model

MarjonChelseamodelFor the longest time this was the face of Marjon. It doesn’t look it now, but Marjon
is old. This model of the old campus that was situated in the middle of Chelsea,
London is here to always remind us that while buildings and places change, our
spirit doesn’t.
3. The Marjon Cup
marjoncupMarjon was always very involved in sports and once upon a time it used to award its own trophy. Here it is- The Marjon Cup, a sizable reward for those who earned it. I’m not very sporty, but even I would be tempted:-)






4. Marjon International
malaysiapictureAs I wrote before– we have many international ties. People around the world come over to study for their diplomas. Sometimes they leave souvenirs and leave their mark on Marjon.



5. The timetables of doom

oldtimetableEvery student thinks that their schedule is busy. Well, I’m sure that past students would laugh that statement off. Here is a timetable from a hundred years ago. Every waking moment was framed within rigorous plan of study, work and prayer. I doubt that many people could stand that today.





6. Marjon the beautiful
marjoninsnowMarjon grounds are beautiful. With its lush and manicured Quad area, with the hidden grove and pond, and with its new apple orchard. But the prettiest Marjon sight it its chapel after the heavy snowfall. This is my favourite picture of it.


7. The war hospital

warhospitalEverybody and their little dog enjoy a good war story. Marjon has many stories of men that fought and died in both world wars. But that’s not all. The buildings have stories to tell too. For example: the old college building used to be a hospital during the WWI. If only the buildings could talk.





8. Macro- and micro- media

mediaMarjon was always good with its media. Here it is a small display what kind of things people was working with: Huge master tapes, ancient betamaxes, a little more modern VHS tapes and nearly recent DVD. Those tiny tapes laid in a pyramid are master tapes for VHS hand-held cameras, a technology many of the fresh students might be unfamiliar with.

And now, if you want to see all of the above, you can do so. There is a display put up in the reception area of the library. Look for two tall glass cases, one on the lef of the reception desk and one on the right of the exit.

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Malaysian Memories

Those who know Marjon a little bit better also know that we have well organized International Office. It is located on the second floor of the main block and the whole place is decorated with pictures, artwork and various colourful objects from many different cultures. I used to wonder where they all come from. Well now I know. A recent donation that came to the archives is all the souvenirs that Malaysian students brought as gifts.

For more than thirty years Marjon worked in partnership with more countries and Universities abroad than you can shake a stick at. Nowadays any course is open for foreign students, but also there are special programmes such as International Foundation Programme and Academic English Preparation Courses so you can imagine how many people came over here over the years. The gifts they left behind vary greatly. Some are simple souvenirs, others are more elaborate. There are pictures, scrolls and pennants. Some showed how little I know about Malaysia- the strange studded brass frame is actually a mirror with a little doors.

Some of those things must have been in the possession of the International office for years; some are recent as the newspaper that I found alongside the gifts. It is dated 2013 and titled ‘University’s farewell to Malaysians’. It shows that people still are coming to us from Malaysia to get their education. We live worlds apart, but for a short while we have lived and worked together. And here is the proof that we will always remember and treasure our friends from far away:



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