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Friday, October 10, 2014

What HMML Did During (everyone else's) Summer Vacation

A brief photographic history of the summer of 2014 at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library

Did you ever feel that you were not quite welcome somewhere?

As we at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library have announced through numerous avenues, we are back in our now renovated space--and loving it. We now have one of the nicest classrooms on campus (ok, so we think it is the nicest), a dedicated conference room, a comfortable and beautiful reading room, modern offices (most with windows), a refrigerator with an ice dispenser, and places to display rare books, manuscripts and works of art, not to mention new HVAC, improved fire-suppression equipment, and better environmental controls for the microfilm vault..

How did we get to this point? Below I offer a photographic overview of our development from early May to early September. These are but one set of photos from the work. Several staff members took photos and videos of the process. Here I offer only my own photographs. The HMML website ( has more information and photos of the new space.

Our thanks, again, to the friendly staff at Alcuin Library, where we spent a lovely summer in the basement! Actually, in the space where our Library had its first offices back in the years from 1965 to 1975--but then, that was the subject of a previous post in this blog.

Finally, one item in our summer story that did not make it into the account below was a minor flood in one of the reference areas in late June. Fortunately, the leak did not affect any of the rare materials at HMML, and indeed did not even reach any of HMML's own reference collection. About a half-dozen books in a related collection (the Arca Artium Reference Collection) were damaged and several boxes had to be moved. However, in the end, we are blessed that no other damage to the collections occurred during construction!

So here is a chronological overview of our summer:

*     *     *

May 6, 2014 -- the last day for visitors; packing up the Saint John's Bible

A certain empty feeling came over us.

All of that knowledge ... gone in a day (or so).
Tim Ternes packs up the display cases.

Wrapping up for the move.

One more class presentation - Students visiting from Mayville State University in North Dakota.

The final tour of the Saint John's Bible gallery in the old HMML space.

*     *     *

May 13, 2014 -- That empty feeling

Funny, I think there used to be a giftshop here.

Nothing left but the clothes hanger.

No more desks or furniture. The empty Bible gallery in the background.

 Well, now we know where the 40-year-old carpet went.

Still moving things out.

My desk used to be at the far right of the space in the back. All of the carrel walls have disappeared.

Even the basement (yes, our basement library has its own basement) is looking emptier.

Where'd everybody go?

*     *     *

May 21, 2014 -- That even emptier feeling

It's official: the dumpster is here.

Time for tools--in the former giftshop area.

The front office--once the hub of much activity.

At least the carpet is still here. But where are the ceiling tiles and lights?

More tools.

*     *     *

May 29, 2014 -- Looks quiet ... at least on the outside

OK, I know I did not have anything that heavy in my office.

Kinda looks like a construction site to me.

Bits and pieces of the HMML that won't return. Souvenirs, anyone?

No, really, one side of the library is now on Abbey Road. Not only that, we have a real,
active Abbey at the end of the road!

So serene above, not so much under the sod.

*     *     *

June 10, 2014 -- Hard hat? Hard hat? I never even liked wearing hats ...

Ah, what a warm welcome.

Wait a minute! Is that a wall coming into being?

*     *     *

July 8, 2014 -- A tour! A tour!

The Director directs. Father Columba Stewart, OSB, gives us a sneak peek at the future!

The professional photographer leaps into action. Wayne Torborg in action.

The worksite takes on a little more shape.

Staff in the soon-to-be HMML reading room.

Soon (but not too soon) to be filled with books!

*     *     *

July 30, 2014 -- Something is going on here

New walls going in.

Kinda looks like someone's been working here.

*     *     *

August 22, 2014 -- Moving and Re-Moving; or, What Goes Out Must Go Back In

Christmas comes early--look at all those packages!

Okay, so the yellow tape is not yet gone.

Scholar studies waiting for scholars.

New staff offices waiting for staff.

My office, not yet filled with "stuff."

Mountains of books (yes, those are all books).

Why does a certain suite of music by Ferde Grofe come to mind?

Time to open the packages! William Straub and Daniel Gullo unpack the first title on the shelf.

What did we unpack first? Why the Patrologia Latina (or "PL"), of course!

*     *     *

September 10, 2014 -- Getting Very Close

The books were carefully returned to their natural habitat.

A place for everything; and, everything in its place! (yeah, sure it is ...)

The new classroom, waiting for students (and final touches).

Looking more like a library. Still waiting for some furniture.

The new entrance, inside Alcuin Library. But, still no name (it has since been added).

*     *     *

"And in the end ..." (Lennon/McCartney)

It was a Picture-Perfect Summer at Saint John's!

Ahhhh, a summer afternoon at the beach ... what could be better than this?
(They did let us out of the basement once in a while.)