Friday, March 25, 2011

Speechless: Preserving rolls of toilet paper in a museum?

How are people living outside the 334 area code supposed to react to this? 

This is a story that I wish I’d made up and used for one of the satirical posts you see here from time to time.  But apparently, you can’t make this stuff up. Sometimes the truth is crazier than fiction. Funnier, too.

Artifacts from Toomer’s Corner

imageAUBURN - When members of the Auburn Family learned the 130-year-old oaks at Toomer's Corner had been poisoned and were not likely to survive, they responded with a spontaneous outpouring of both grief and high hopes for the health of the trees and the determination that the senseless crime would not break the Auburn spirit.

Many items were placed at the base of the oaks in tribute to what the historic trees have come to symbolize. They included personal articles, signs, get-well wishes from small children and moving tributes from current and former students. As efforts began in earnest to do everything possible to save the trees, the items had to be cleared away.

The Auburn University Libraries' Special Collections and Archives Department made the decision to collect and preserve the items and treat them as artifacts for a special collection as a way to preserve this trying chapter in Auburn's history. The collection is unique in that most of the items fall well outside the norm for the average archival artifact.

"I'm not sure anyone has ever tried to archivally preserve a roll of toilet paper with writing on it," said Greg Schmidt, special collections librarian at Auburn University Libraries. "Toilet paper is meant to break down and is a very delicate medium for the written word. We have many such rolls collected from the Toomer's Corner oaks, and ensuring they last in our archives is going to be a challenge."

The public will have an opportunity to view many of these newest pieces of Auburn history at a special exhibit that will be housed in Ralph Brown Draughon Library during A-Day activities on Saturday, April 16. Details about the exhibition will be announced in early April.

I can’t believe that anyone would so solemnly discuss “archivally preserving” rolls of toilet paper, or speaking of the stuff we wipe our asses with as a “delicate medium for the written word,” or even discussing the “challenge” of preserving it. Ick, people.

What’s equally amazing is that they’re planning a special exhibit, open to the public on A-Day.

How is anyone supposed to take you seriously?

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