Skip to Main Content

Archives and Special Collections at Penn State Harrisburg

This guide provides an overview of the resources available from Archives and Special Collections in the Madlyn L. Hanes Library, part of the Penn State University Libraries, at Penn State Harrisburg.

About Exhibitions, Displays & Outreach

Eleanor E. ParreyAbout Archival Exhibitions:  Throughout the calendar year, Archives and Special Collections curates and installs one or more original exhibitions on the first floor of the library near the Circulation Desk.  Since 2013, we have curated a total of over forty exhibitions.  While the theme or focus of each exhibition varies, the archives strives to present original materials from ten different collections for the benefit of our academic community and the general public.  In addition, within the archives' Reading Room, a permanent exhibit case always features highlights of the repository's collections and is accessible whenever the archives is open or by appointment.  Eleanor Parrey, former Archives Administrative and Processing Assistant, (pictured left), assisted with curating many of our exhibitions and displays from 2019-2023.

About Library Displays:  Smaller archival and/or informational displays are rotated throughout the calendar year and usually located on the first floor of the library near the Reference or Circulation Desks.  These displays typically commemorate an event or celebration, such as LGBTQ+ History Month, or another topic of interest to the college community.

About Outreach:  Since 2006, the archives has developed exhibitions and smaller displays in partnership with academic departments and student clubs on campus, local collectors, as well as collaborated with other area and national museums and historical organizations, including the following:  American Philatelic SocietyHighspire Historical SocietyMiddletown Area Historical SocietyPenn State All-Sports Museum, Penn State Harrisburg Center for Holocaust and Jewish StudiesPennsylvania National Fire MuseumPennsylvania State Archives, and Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibit Service (SITES), and THON.  Please contact Heidi Abbey Moyer if you or your organization would like to collaborate with the archives!

American Philatelic Society and Research LibraryPenn State All-Sports MuseumSmithsonian InstitutionTHON





Middletown Area Historical SocietyPennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC)

Current Exhibitions (Fall 2023)

September 13, 2023 - December 22, 2023 Exhibition

Recording Personal Histories: When History Becomes Personal"Recording Personal Histories: When History Becomes Personal" 

Curated by Elizabeth McIlhenney, Archives Processing Assistant, “Recording Personal Histories: When History Becomes Personal” focuses on how we have recorded our lives over history. This includes a study of personal and family letters, postcards, diaries, scrapbooks, and more. Why connect these materials together? In this exhibition, the study of “Recording Personal Histories” seeks to draw a parallel between how we record our lives today, and how they are and are not like the ways people did years ago. Plan to visit the Madlyn L. Hanes Library now through the end of the fall 2023 semester to view and explore the exhibit!


Gross Breesen ExhibitionJanuary 15, 2022 - December 2023, Exhibition

"Gross Breesen:  Jews Escaping Genocide Through Agricultural Education"

Curated by Steve Strauss and recently acquired by Penn State Harrisburg's Center for Holocaust and Jewish Studies, this multimedia exhibition documents Gross Breesen, which was a training farm and school created by Jewish leadership in the mid-1930s.  The exhibition highlights this uniquely underrepresented aspect of Jewish life under Nazi rule—a lifesaving farming school that trained Jewish youth in the skills needed for emigration.  Featuring facsimiles of photographs, tributes about Gross Breesen students, and a 45-minute documentary film, Gross Breesen is on display in the Linda Schwab Holocaust Gallery and Reading Room at the Madlyn L. Hanes Library now through the end of the fall 2023 semester. 

In conjunction with the exhibition, a public lecture was held in the library's Morrison Gallery on Thursday, January 27, 2022, from 12 NoonGross Breesen Exhibition until 1:00 pm, featuring Heidi Landecker, Deputy Managing Editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education, who will present a discussion of her father’s experience as a student at Gross Breesen.  Mr. Steve Strauss, a noted photographer from New York City and curator of the “Gross Breesen” exhibit, was also in attendance.  A Kosher reception was provided.

The exhibition and lecture were both generously supported by a grant from the Penn State University Spring 2022 "Humanities in the World" Commonwealth Campus Initiative, as well as funding from the Center for Holocaust and Jewish Studies Endowment, the School of Humanities, the School of Behavioral Sciences and Education, and the Madlyn L. Hanes Library at Penn State Harrisburg.

Current Displays (Fall 2023)

Honoring All Veterans and Military FamiliesNovember-December 2023 Display

Remembering all of our U.S. veterans and military families for Veteran's Day, November 11, 2023. Thank you for your service and sacrifice today and always. Please stop by the library in November and December to view our display, which includes the scrapbook for the veteran's fraternity, XGI (Chi Gamma Iota), established at the college ca. 1970.


Tall-Tales Vintage PostcardsNovember 7, 2023 - February 28, 2024 Display

Announcing our newest archival display, "Tall-Tales Vintage Postcards," curated by David Wyche, American Studies PhD Candidate and Graduate Archives Assistant in Archives and Special Collections. The display features beautiful, color reproductions of postcards from the amazing private collection of Mr. Alan Mays. Please stop by the library on the first floor, near the Circulation Desk, to see this gorgeous display now through February 28, 2024.



National Archives Month

archives monthEvery October, Archives and Special Collections celebrates American Archives Month.  Join the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) and/or the national professional organization for archivists and records managers, the Society of American Archivists, to raise awareness of archives!

On October 11, 2023, we celebrated #AskAnArchivist Day!  Please visit our Facebook page to connect with us and ask the archivist questions.