By Beth Anne Spacht
July 19, 2015
At Richmond, there’s always more to discover when you travel to the lesser-known corners of campus. Over the course of the University’s 185-year-old history, we’ve been fortunate to accumulate some really amazing things. From an Egyptian mummy in the Classics department, to a massive collection of florescent rocks and fossils in the Harnett Museum of Art, to a floor-to-ceiling pendulum in the Gottwald Center for the Sciences, new surprises wait around every corner of our 365-acre campus. Since we can’t cover everything in our 1.5 hour campus tours, here’s a quick look at a few hidden treasures you might be surprised to find at Richmond:
Galvin Rare Book Room at The Boatwright Memorial Library
Our journey begins on the basement level of the Boatwright Memorial Library, where you’ll find a treasure trove of literary antiques sure to impress any collector. Open to students and the public, The Galvin Rare Book Room houses approximately 25,000 books, broadsides, manuscripts, maps, newspapers, music scores, facsimiles, and photographs from throughout the ages. Among the collections are some 500 Confederate Imprints published between 1861-1865; a rare edition of The Gutenberg Bible; and even scrapbooks and report cards from Richmond and Westhampton College students circa 1930. Unlike many rare book rooms, there are no white gloves required to handle the age-old manuscripts. Serious researchers and casual enthusiasts alike are welcome to enjoy the history.
3-D Printers at the Technology Learning Center (TLC)
Shifting gears from old to new, get ready to think in 3-D as you head up to the third floor of the library, home to the Technology Learning Center (TLC) and the University of Richmond’s three 3-D printers: Makerbot Thing-O-Matic (ToM), Solidoodle 2, and Solidoodle 3. Scattered around the machinery you’ll find printed models of everything from marine animals to molecules to miniature renditions of George R.R. Martin’s famous iron throne. The cutting-edge technology is widely used on campus by faculty and students from departments as diverse as Biology and Music. In fact, resident ethnomusicologist, Dr. Andrew McGraw, recently used the printers to conjure up a visual comparison of tempos in Javanese and Balinese traditional music. How cool is that?
Check out recently printed items to see what else we’ve created, as we journey to the other side of campus.
The Greenhouse at Gottwald
Our next two stops bring us to the Gottwald Center for the Sciences, home to all things…well, scientific. Here, the Department of Biology maintains two full-fledged greenhouses constituting approximately 10,000 square feet under glass, each with an adjoining headhouse (workshop). With the help of artificial fertilizers, resident botanists grow a breadth and diversity of plants to support biological teaching and research. The greenhouses include small collections of ferns, bromeliads, cacti, succulents and orchids, along with more familiar materials like begonias, impatiens and geraniums. Botanists in the department completed an original inventory of the greenhouse collection in 1993, but are always looking for interested students to help with its upkeep!
The Martha Carpenter Observatory
From the ground to the sky, we travel to the roof of Gottwald Center for the Sciences. Thanks to a generous gift from 1951 Westhampton College graduate, Martha Carpenter, the Department of Physics now houses a rooftop observatory – complete with a Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain 14-inch reflecting telescope – above the campus hub for science. The telescope was installed in the fall of 2009 and serves as an instrumental accessory for classes and research. It is also available to any student interested in learning more about astronomy or getting a glimpse of moons, stars and planets.
The Costume & Prop Shop at the Modlin Center for the Arts
The last stop on our virtual tour is actually two treasures rolled into one. Saturated in University history, the present-day costume shop was once – believe it or not – an indoor swimming pool. Today, the repurposed storage space houses a diverse and extensive prop collection (accumulated over 40 years!), and also serves as trapdoor access to the black box stage located directly above. While the pool may no longer exist, the tile surface and lane lines are still intact, delivering much needed organization to the many rows of costumes required to supply 2-3 main stage productions and countless student-produced shows each year. The Modlin Center for the Arts also comes well-equipped with an adjoining costume shop where students can gain valuable sewing and design experience – theater major or not!
Senior Assistant Director of Admission
A Richmond alumnus (Class of 2007), Tom has been working and blogging for the Office of Admission since he graduated. He loves his alma mater and the city that shares its name.
Beth Anne Spacht
Assistant Director of Admission
Beth Anne was a double major at Richmond (English and Latin American & Iberian Studies) and now enjoys helping prospective students discover the best of her alma mater.
The University of Richmond is a highly ranked liberal arts university offering an extraordinary combination of the liberal arts with law, business, leadership studies, and continuing education. The university is consistently named a best value in higher education by leading publications.