Opinion | A University museum is on its way


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Ancient Mediterranean: “The Dawn of the Individual” is a permanent exhibit that sits at the Spurlock Museum. Senior columnist Noah Nelson expresses interest in a museum based on the University’s history.

By Noah Nelson, Senior Columnist

For most people, vacation is synonymous with the beach, outdoor adventures or the lake. For me, I would much rather spend time off rocking out at a concert, or better yet, a historical museum.

Whether it’s a former president’s home or any museum for that matter, I’m always ready to visit a new museum. It’s a chance for me to learn deeper about a particular subject, absorb its artifacts and imagine myself there during that time. But as much as I love museums, I’ve always wanted to create one too.

Now, I plan on doing just that. A museum dedicated to the University and its history is well on its way.

During the last four years, I’ve collected countless pieces of University memorabilia from my time here. These include artifacts like wristbands from Legends and Orange Krush, a Star Course Event Staff lanyard and other items signed by sports figures like Ayo Dosumnu and Lovie Smith.

Then I started thinking. I always wanted to create an Illini-themed man cave for my future house. But why not make it a museum?

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Recently, I’ve collected a whole slew of artifacts to showcase not only my time at the University but its history too. These include the likes of an old Daily Illini newsstand, big plastic cards from Block I card stunts and even a 1980s Illini Dairy Club button that reads: “I milked a cow at the Illinois State Fair.”

I’ve collected game-worn athletic apparel, books written about or by University alumni and even confetti from the last Illini basketball game this season when the team defeated Iowa, securing Big Ten season champs.

In these early stages of the museum creation process, it’s fun to gather all of these artifacts. It feels like a treasure hunt, without being chased by a team of scary pirates on a ship.

If you didn’t know already, the University is home to quite a few museums: University Archives, Main Stacks, Alumni Center Museum, Spurlock Museum, Krannert Art Museum and so much more. I don’t plan to disrupt their greatness, but rather create a museum that hopefully adds to their stature.

I love all of those museums, and I’m hoping mine can live up to their expectations. In the meantime, I’m doing everything I can to collect, preserve and honor University history.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to my museum thus far. The best is yet to come.

I can’t wait to welcome visitors one day and say: “Welcome to Champaign. Welcome to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Museum. And welcome home.”


Noah is a senior in Media.

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