Browse Exhibits (11 total)

World War II in Life Magazine Advertisements


The entry of the United States into WWII demanded the mobilization of virtually all of American society and civilian support for the war effort was crucial to achieving victory. This exhibit demonstrates the role of corporate advertising toward that end using advertisements which appeared in LIFE Magazine *, perhaps the most popular magazine of the time.

The exhibit also highlights some of the artists whose work formed a crucial part of the advertisements’ messages.

* LIFE Magazine (ISSN 0024-3019) was published bY Time Inc.  The following are scans from the physical copies owned by Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) and are displayed here in compliance with fair use restrictions.  WCSU claims no rights to the materials; reproduction of these items and other uses must be obtained from the rights holder and not WCSU.

Plumbing the Depths: Candlewood Lake


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Turning over a New Leaf: Identification of a Medieval Manuscript Leaf


Manuscripts started to become popular in Europe beginning, roughly, in the 8th century AD. (An example of an 8th century Irish manuscript, courtesy of the Bodleian Library, is available below). 

Used mostly for religous purposes by the church and its adherents, the most common types of manuscripts were bibles, books of hours, and other liturgical texts.

Due to several factors, not all manuscripts survive intact into the present day; sometimes only a page survives, as is the case here at WestConn.

But how much can we learn from a single page from a medieval manuscript? 

The short answer: more than I thought.

The long answer: There are some basic methods that can be utilized for document identification in general.  To investigate our specific leaf, we knew that there were some things the physical object could tell us, other things that we could infer or suppose, and other things we may never know for sure.




Danbury Redevelopment Appraisals

Robert Noce photo.jpg

The redevelopment of downtown area in the late 1950’s began as a direct result of the disastrous floods that struck the city in August and October 1955 and the subsequent efforts at flood control and revitalization.

This exhibit concentrates on one specific focus of those redevelopment efforts, the appraisal of the residential and commercial properties in the proposed area of redevelopment. It also highlights the life and career of one of the two experts selected to perform those appraisals, Robert N. Noce, a long time Danbury resident and business, political and community leader.

The Hidden Old Main


While "Old Main" is WestConn's oldest and probably most iconic building, its interior and uses have changed considerably over the last century.  For many years it was the college's only or main building (hence the name Old Main) and its original design answered the multiple needs that had to be met by a single facility.

This exhibit aims to bring to light some aspects of this building now no longer visible to most visitors.

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Phrenologists, Pseudoscience & The Danbury Octagon House


The city of Danbury’s quest to preserve a singular architectural landmark of the city’s mid-19th century history will be celebrated when Western Connecticut State University presents a special exhibit highlighting the 160-year-old Octagon House and Orson Squire Fowler, whose 1848 book inspired its construction.

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100 Years Since the First World War


This exhibit features three cases of material from the archives’ collection.  From political cartoons to memorials, the pieces included in this exhibit provide a fascinating glimpse into America during the First World War.

Woodrow Wilson in August of 1914:

  • “The effect of the war upon the United States will depend upon what American citizens say and do. Every man who really loves America will act and speak in the true spirit of neutrality, which is the spirit of impartiality and fairness and friendliness to all concerned. The spirit of the Nation in this critical matter will be determined largely by what individuals and society and those gathered in public meetings do and say, upon what newspapers and magazines contain, upon what ministers utter in their pulpits, and men proclaim as their opinions on the street… The people of the United States are drawn from many nations, and chiefly from the nations now at war. It is natural and inevitable that there should be the utmost variety of sympathy and desire among them with regard to the issues and circumstances of the conflict.” *

This battle for the hearts and minds used the printed word, cartoons, illustrations and photographs as the tools to attempt sway public opinion toward militarily and materially supporting the Allies. 

Many of Danbury’s own were swayed to support the war including, George Bennett Hawley.

Through these materials, we have a unique glimpse of the period; 100 Years Since the First World War commemorates the efforts of American soldiers and their experiences in war.


WestConn's First African-American Students


It would not be until the late 1960s that the composition of college and university student body populations began to numerically reflect the African-American populations around them in the U.S.  In a 1969 photograph, members of the then newly-formed Afro-American Club can be seen giving the “Black Power” fist salute for their yearbook photo signaling an overt change in the culture at WestConn; however,  earlier in the century, the educational possibilities were quite different for those Afro-American Club members’ parents and grandparents.  The population of African-Americans was small in Danbury in the early 1900s; in 1895, there were only 14 registered births in the City of Danbury of persons considered to be “black.” Furthermore, based on photographic evidence, there was a very small number in the community that entered Danbury High School in that period.   Yet, standing in the back row of the 1906 senior class picture for the Danbury Normal School (first graduating class of the precursor to WestConn), there is a lone young African-American woman.  

Danbury Industrial Corporation

The Danbury Industrial Corporation created a three volume Danbury Industrial Survey which contains comprehensive descriptions and statistical analyses of Danbury's business and industrial community from 1918.  As the Survey states in its introduction:

Gentlemen: In accordance with our agreement, I herewith submit in the form of an Industrial Survey a report upon the economic and industrial conditions now existing in Danbury together with an analysis of such conditions and presentation of conclusions formed as a result of such analysis. 
My desire has been to prepare and present as complete data and information as possible for the purpose of assisting in promoting the industrial growth of Danbury.
The accompanying survey is largely of a confidential nature, and intended more for the assistance and guidance of your Officers and Committees, than for general distribution. Personally, I do not favor large expenditures for printed matter to be used for exploitation purposes. I think very few practical results are secured thereby. You should however have at your command, and in proper  form, such facts and data, as will assist you in presenting your advantages when negotiations are in progress.

  • l---The possibilities for expansion of existing industries,
  • 2---The possibilities for establishment of lines of manufacture allied to existing industries,
  • 3---The possibilities for development of bi-products manufacturers,
  • 4---The possibilities for development of new industries.
  • 5---The advantages and disadvantage of transportation conditions,
  • 6---The conditions relating to labor,
  • 7---The position of Danbury relative to the question of the cost of power,
  • 8---The market and distribution conditions relating to various lines of industry,
  • 9---The economic and strategic position of Danbury as compared with other cities,
  • 10---The advantages of Danbury as to factory sites and factory locations,
  • 11---The relation of civic conditions to industrial growth

I recommend that effort shall first be directed toward the providing of such advantageous manufacturing conditions in Danbury as will permit the securing of new industries, largely on the basis of merit of the city’s manufacturing location.

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HIS 298 - Truman Warner

This exhibit was created for the student of Western Connecticut State University; it is to show the life and work of Truman Warner, an anthropologist who was a director and taught for the University. He was one of the first male students to attend the then Danbury State Teachers College even though Danbury High School urged him to go to Yale. He saw the value in being able to get a bachelors degree and still be close to home. Even though he didn’t go to a private college he still became a successful teacher. Warner Hall is named after this professor because he illustrated that WestConn was a people’s college, a place filled with the history of unity and success stories of which Truman Warner was apart.