EKU’s Story Told in 100 Objects

Published on April 11, 2019

What does a 50-year-old football have in common with the Lord’s Prayer written in Chinese, or an antique dog collar with the Turley House? These items represent seminal moments in EKU’s history, and they are all featured in the latest exhibit by EKU Special Collections & Archives.

The department has painstakingly curated 50 historical objects from the University’s long history, and identified 50 influential buildings and campus sites, to create the EKUx100 exhibition.

Individually, each item tells a piece of a story or shares an important moment in time. Together, they give a remarkably thorough glance at EKU’s history, from its origins in 1874 as the tiny Central University to a modern-day public university that serves 16,000 students.

“EKU Special Collections & Archives preserves, organizes and provides access to materials that document University history,” said Jackie Couture, who leads the department. “As archivists, we love sharing that history with students, alumni and other researchers in fun and interesting ways. We’re firm believers that, to know where you’re going, you have to know where you’ve come from.”

The collection includes a diverse array of items, including:

  • The pen used Gov. Edward T. Breathitt to sign legislation granting EKU university status in 1966.

  • The game ball from EKU’s legendary Grantland Rice Bowl championship in 1967 coached by Roy Kidd.

  • The collar worn by Mozart, the beloved dog who lived on campus in the 1950s and 1960s.

  • The first edition of the Eastern Progress, EKU’s student newspaper, and other publications.

  • Photos and publications that show the unique challenges and successes EKU faced during the Civil Rights Movement.

EKU Special Collections & Archives has turned EKUx100 into a digital exhibit, which can be viewed at  go.eku.edu/EKUx100. To see the items and buildings in person, download the Clio app to access a walking tour on your smartphone.

This story was originally featured in the Spring 2019 issue of EKU Magazine under the title "Object Lessons."

Object Lessons