The mission of the MU in Brick and Mortar project is to present the construction history of the UMC campus, one building at a time. This web exhibit pairs the Building and Infrastructure Archives' architectural drawings with historical photos and documents from University Archives, the Western Historical Manuscript Collection, and other sources. Further historical facts and background information have been included to provide more detail and contextual reference.
MU in Brick and Mortar has documented the complete history of 97 different buildings and sites from all parts of campus, including several historic locations which no longer exist on campus. Most of the exhibit, like the Building and Infrastructure Archives' collection, dates back to 1892. This was the year of the famous Academic Hall fire, which left nothing of the original building but the six columns that still adorn Francis Quadrangle. There are still a few buildings that pre-date the fire, and they are featured in this web exhibit; however, the campus as we know it today essentially began in 1892. Our web presentation, therefore, uses this date as a starting point for exploring the rich history of the MU campus' construction.
The project was funded by two Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, administered by the Missouri State Library. The first grant was in 2003 and the second from July 2004 through August 2005.
The Making of MU in Brick and Mortar
The creation of this web exhibit presented a number of noteworthy challenges. Our initial challenge was to select only 97 locations. The MU main campus has more than 200 buildings, plus many other campus landmarks such as the Columns, Peace Park, and Lowry Mall. Conducting the research on these locations would prove an equally daunting task, due to the overwhelming amounts of material and numerous sources. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, overcoming the huge task of synthesizing the data collected, developing a logical, intuitive information architecture, and creating a unified web exhibit from diverse media proved more difficult than expected. However, the completed MU in Brick and Mortar project has risen to all of these challenges, and it has surpassed even our highest expectations.