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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 at Penn State Harrisburg.

About Exhibitions, Displays & Outreach

About Exhibitions:  ThHer Stamp on History Exhibitroughout 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.  While the theme or focus of each exhibition varies, the archives strives to exhibit original materials from its 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 Schultz, Archives Administrative and Processing Assistant, (pictured left), curates many of our exhibitions and displays throughout the year.

About Displays:  Smaller archival and/or informational displays are rotated throughout the calendar year and located on the first floor of the library next to the Reference Desk.  These displays typically highlight an event, such as PSH Reads, 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 and Displays (Spring 2022)

Gross Breesen ExhibitionJanuary 15 - December 31, 2022 Exhibition and Public Lecture

"Gross Breesen:  Jews Escaping Genocide Through Agricultural Education"

Curated by Steve Strauss and on loan to Penn State Harrisburg through December 31, 2022, 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. 

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, will also be in attendance.  A Kosher reception will be provided.

The exhibition and lecture are 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.


Madlyn L. Hanes Library, Penn State HarrisburgMarch 1-May 16, 2022
"The Library at the Heart of Our Campus: A Retrospective of Photographs and Documents for the Newly-Named Madlyn L. Hanes Library at Penn State Harrisburg"

This exhibition provides a glimpse into the history of the library building at Penn State Harrisburg.  In July 2021, the building was named by the Penn State Board of Trustees to honor Dr. Madlyn L. Hanes for her years of service as Chancellor of Penn State Harrisburg from 2000 until 2010.  Photographs, documents, ephemera, as well as articles from the college's student newspaper highlight the library's evolution from its original location in the Olmsted Building in 1966, through the detailed planning and construction of a new building between 1978-2000, and, finally, to the library building that is at the heart of our campus today.


Dr. Madlyn L. Hanes


March 2022 Display

"Women at Penn State Harrisburg (1968-2015)"
In honor of Women's History Month this March, and as part of the celebration honoring Dr. Madlyn L. Hanes and renaming the library in her honor, this display features a small selection of women and women's history events that have taken place at Penn State Harrisburg since 1968.


Highlights from Previous Exhibitions (2011-2021)

Food as Comfort ExhibitionJanuary - February and May - October 2022 Exhibition

"Food as Comfort:  Advertising and Consumer Culture in American Foodways"

As we enter year three of the COVID-19 pandemic, preparing food at home, streaming tv shows about food from around the globe, and the way that people think about and enjoy food remain ever popular.  Drawn from graphics in the Alice K. Marshall Women's History Collection, this exhibition showcases "Food as Comfort" advertisements from 1911-1956, such as Jell-O, a warm bowl of Campbell's tomato soup, and a refreshing bottle of Coca-Cola. If there is anything the world needs after the last few years, it is a little comfort. So, feast on this fun and wholesome exhibit as you explore how food advertisements have grown with time! 

FArt and Architecture Self-Guided Walking Tour of Campusall and Winter 2021

"We are 55:  Art and Architecture at Penn State Harrisburg"

This exhibit, which was on display from September through December 17, 2021, featured photographs, postcards, and ephemera from the College History Archives located in Archives and Special Collections on the 3rd floor of the library. It commemorates the 55th anniversary of the college, which was officially established on February 8, 1966. It also provides a fascinating visual history of the art and architecture of the campus and its tremendous growth over more than half a century.  Take a trip through campus—both past and present—via this exhibit. And when you are done viewing the digital exhibit, get outside, and take an actual tour of our beautiful campus!  We have prepared an "Art & Architecture Self-Guided Walking Tour of Campus" that, at a moderate walking pace, takes approximately one hour to complete.


smithsonian exhibitApril through December 2021

Poster exhibit, courtesy of SITES (Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service) 



Dear heart what a peach you areSpring 2021

"Through Alice’s Eyes: A Celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Alice K. Marshall Women's History Collection at the Penn State Harrisburg Library (1991-2021)" celebrated thirty years of curating and preserving Alice Marshall’s extensive archives that focuses on women from the 18th through the 20th centuries.  This exhibit showcased only a small portion of the thousands of items—books, magazines, sheet music, photographs, pinback buttons, and postcards—that comprise the Alice K. Marshall Women’s History Collection (AMC) at the Penn State Harrisburg Library. Her vast collection was given to Penn State Harrisburg in 1991 and has been a springboard for teaching and learning across the curriculum. Most of the items featured have never been exhibited before and not only demonstrate the diverse scope of the collection, but also celebrate Women’s History Month.



Sound of Suffrage

Spring 2020

"The Sounds of Suffrage:  Songs and Sheet Music from the American Suffrage Movement"




everybody play ball exhibitFall 2019

"Everybody Play Ball:  A Brief Timeline of American Baseball" 



field to front exhibit

Fall 2019

"Field to Front: Nittany Lions at War, 1917-1919"

Traveling exhibit, courtesy of Penn State All-Sports Museum


smithsonian exhibitFall 2019

Poster exhibits, courtesy of SITES (Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service) 



her stamp on history exhibit Summer 2019   

 "Her Stamp on History:  Notable and Quotable American Women from the World of Philately"




pumpkins peeps exhibitFall 2018

Pumpkins to Peeps: Holiday Postcards from the Alice Marshall Women's History Collection.  One of our "all-time favorite exhibits" that was as much fun to research and install as it was to view!  This exhibit showcased some of the 6,000+ postcards that Alice Marshall collected over her lifetime.  As described by Dr. John Haddad, Professor of American Studies at Penn State Harrisburg, these postcards are "...little units of culture."  We couldn't agree more!


got advertising exhibitFall 2013

Got Advertising? Magazines & Consumer Culture in America, 1890-1984






witchy women exhibitFall 2011

Witchy Women: Be"witch"ing Halloween Ephemera and Texts from the Alice Marshall Women's History Collection 



Highlights from Previous Displays (2021-2022)

MLK, Jr. Design Contest and Winning Poster 2021 by PSU Harrisburg Student, Jailyn FigueroaJanuary - February 2022 Display

"Honoring Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." 

Each year, Penn State Harrisburg's Diversity and Educational Equity Committee (DEEC) honors Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s memory by sponsoring a Poster Design Contest. The winning submission is always printed in a limited run of posters. Archives and Special Collections is proud to preserve copies of the winning posters and pinback buttons and has selected several from our collection to share in this display.  The theme for the contest in 2021 was “Black Social Justice Trailblazers.” Designed by Penn State Harrisburg student, Jailyn Figueroa, the winning poster is pictured left. Please stop by to see the display near the Reference Desk in the library.


Thank a First Responder!November-December 2021 Display

"Thank a First Responder!  Have a Holiday Season Full of Gratitude" Thank a First Responder!

Did you know that there are over 25 million first responders in the US?  This holiday season, as we gather with friends and family, remember that some tables have empty chairs because their heroes are keeping you safe.  We honor, appreciate, and thank the many first responders in Fire, Police, EMS Personnel, Dispatch, Corrections, and Healthcare who work tirelessly to protect and help all of us every day.  This display featured original photographs of firemen and policemen in Steelton, PA, from the John Yetter Collection, as well as photographs of nurses from the Alice K. Marshall Women's History Collection.  


Golden Z Student ClubOctober-November 2021 DisplayGolden Z Student Club

"Zonta International and Golden Z Student Club at Penn State Harrisburg" 

Zonta International was established in 1919 and is the leading global organization for professionals empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy. In December 2019, the Zonta Club of Harrisburg-Hershey held a Charter Induction and Installation Ceremony for the new Golden Z Student Club at Penn State Harrisburg.  Advised by Professor Heather Jackson, Golden Z is a recognized and active student club on campus. If you are interested and want to get involved with Golden Z, visit


We Remember 9/11September 2021 Display

"We Remember 9/11:  Commemorating 20 Years of Sacrifice" 

September 11, 2021, marks twenty years since the terror attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  We remember those who lost their lives as well as all those who lost loved ones, family, and friends.  As we look back over the past twenty years, we honor the great sacrifice of the members in the U.S. military, first responders, and everyday heroes like the ones on United Airlines Flight 93, at the World Trade Center, and the Pentagon, who risked their lives to save others.

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 8, 2021, we celebrate #AskAnArchivist Day!  Please visit our new Twitter feed to connect with us and ask the archivist questions.