NIU’s Regional History Center has launched a website to display items from its February 14, 2008 Memorial Collection.
Created in conjunction with the archived physical collection located in Founders Memorial Library, the website allows individuals to view the memorial items online and to learn from the tragedy. It includes:
- Condolences sent to campus from other universities;
- Images of items left at each of the “spontaneous memorial” sites;
- Audio interviews conducted by StoryCorps;
- The signature boards from the Martin Luther King Commons and Virginia Tech, viewable with high zooming capabilities;
- Submissions from the Images of Hope exhibit, a collection of photographs symbolizing hope and recovery;
- Bibliographies on relevant topics such as campus violence and mental illness;
- Lesson plans for different age groups to help teachers use the website as a classroom tool;
- An inventory of the manuscript collection, which is archived and available to researchers in the Regional History Center; and
- Opportunities for people to tell their own stories and read the submissions of others.
The Regional History Center welcomes visitors to view the site, read the contributions of others, and add their own — whether a person was present on campus or simply heard about the tragedy on the news.
Every story is significant. The thoughts, memories, emotions and actions of everyday individuals are what make up archives.
“As the keeper of the history of Northern Illinois University, our staff realized that it was our responsibility to document all aspects of the Feb. 14, 2008 tragedy,” said Cindy Ditzler, director of the NIU Regional History Center.
“The website provides an opportunity for visitors interested in the memorial items to view them at any time, from any location,” she added. “It was created to display these artifacts for researchers and to hopefully provide healing for those impacted by the tragedy.”