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Archives & Special Collections

Archives Exhibits

There are untold treasures and unsung heroes hidden in Archives & Special Collections. Our exhibit space includes eight vertical glass cases and ten horizontal cases where we display these treasures.

The exhibits are open to the public whenever Archives is open. If you have ideas for an exhibit or a special event, please contact Nicole Willard, at 405-974-2885 or email

The Golden Age of "B" Movies

rendezvous 24 film cardFor American audiences from the 1930s through the 1950s, "B" movies promised action, adventure, romance and entertainment. Lobby cards promoted current or upcoming films in the lobbies of cinemas, and "B" movie lobby cards were often presented in lurid colors and dramatic typefaces. They were made as a second feature for double-feature tickets, with lower budgets and lesser-known actors, and in familiar genres such as westerns, horror, or detective films. In this selection of movie lobby cards from the Bob Burke Film & Television Autograph Collection, we celebrate the enduring legacy of the Hollywood "B" movie.

Orphan Train

black and white image of children in front of a trainArchives & Special Collections exhibits a display of artifacts and stories from the Orphan Train Movement, including a doll given to Alice Bullis Ayler, one of the last orphans to ride the rails west in hopes of finding a new and loving home. The exhibit contains artifacts, videos, periodicals, and oral and written histories.

The orphan trains operated between 1853 and 1929, relocating about 250,000 orphaned, abandoned, or homeless children. (source: Wikipedia)

Newcomers to a New Land

black and white image of pioneer menNewcomers to a New Land was originally 26 five-minute radio programs about individuals and episodes in Oklahoma history. The programs were produced as part of the Oklahoma Image Project a 3 year statewide, grassroots effort that began in 1979 with the aim of increasing public awareness about Oklahoma's rich and varied multicultural heritage.

These recordings broaden Oklahoma history beyond the usual views of "cowboy and Indian, land runs and oil booms, dust bowl and the Great Depression."

UCO's Special Collections on Display

painting of babyEach floor of the Chambers Library displays art and artifacts from UCO's Special Collections: Melton Legacy Collection, Oklahoma Art Collection, Central and South American Art Collection, African Art Collection, Oceanic Art Collection, and the Bob & Kathy Thomas Collection.

In addition to its own collections, the Chambers Library offers display space to showcase other collections held by the university but managed by other departments: the UCO Natural History Collection from the Department of Biology, Oklahoma Fashion Museum Collection from the College of Education and Professional Studies, and the Laboratory of History Collection form the Department of History and Geography.