Moving memories

After more than five decades in Lewis Hall, University Archives is beginning its half-mile journey to Ellis Library. See how Mizzou’s preserved moments (and a really heavy table) are being transported to their new home.

October 12, 2021
Contact: Kenny Gerling,

The University Archives is moving from its home in Lewis Hall — its location since 1969 — to the fourth floor of Ellis Library, which will allow for easier collaboration with Special Collections and other research resources. Like anyone moving after more than 50 years, the archives has accumulated a lot along the way.

Old Savatar yearbooks in one of the 7th floor Archive room.

The University Archives also has a complete collection (two times over) of the Savitar, the MU yearbook published from 1894 to 2005.

The University Archives collects items such as documents, artifacts and correspondence — anything to help share the history of Mizzou and the UM System. While much of the transition will take place slowly over the course of the fall semester, the archives team recently called in extra help to move some delicate materials and specialized tools. Even though the new location is only about half a mile away, there are still plenty of logistics for the team to consider. One of the main challenges was an approximately 500-pound Steenbeck flatbed editing table — good for reviewing old film reels — bad for fitting through small doorways.

Follow the Steenbeck as it traveled across campus and learn more about all the University Archives has to offer.

university archives sign in a building

University Archives is currently on the seventh floor of Lewis Hall. The archives offices have been in the same building since its founding in 1969.

Film canisters in the old archives storage arrea in the basement of Lewis Hall. On Aug. 2, the University Archives began a long move to the second floor of Ellis Library.

Film canisters and other delicate materials sit in a basement storage area of Lewis Hall. A team from Iron Mountain, an information management services company with a specialized library services unit, recently transported the contents of this room to Ellis Library. “It’s our job to make sure these historical treasures get moved safely to their new home,” said Scott Pitol, a library services solutions architect with Iron Mountain.

three men discuss moving a large imaging table

(Left to right) Anselm Huelsbergen, technical services archivist and university archivist, discusses how to safely move the editing table — itself an artifact — with Doug Oetting and Alan Gebert from Iron Mountain.

a man looks under the imaging table

Huelsbergen makes a final inspection before the move begins. The table is one of many resources available to researchers interested in Mizzou’s past. University Archives has additional equipment to examine historic resources, such as a microfilm reader. "We’ve been administratively under University Libraries since the 1990s,” Huelsbergen said. “Since libraries are the research resource on campus, it makes sense for us to be in there as well.”

the steenbeck flatbed editor

A closeup of the Steenbeck flatbed editor after it was carted up and ready to roll. The table was originally on the seventh floor of Lewis Hall, then the eighth, then moved back to the seventh several years ago. Small elevators in Lewis Hall meant the table had to be painstakingly maneuvered into position for its quick ride to the ground floor.

two men navigate getting the editor outside

Oetting and Gebert lift the editing table back onto a cart. Because of narrow doorways, the team had to move it by hand.

gary cox shows off a film cannister

University Archives remains open in Lewis Hall during the transition process. Gary Cox, public services archivist, shows film that will be reviewed when the editing table is again up and running. Along with resources such as film reels, the University Archives also has an extensive collection of Mizzou memorablia, including the original university seal and a brick purported to be from Academic Hall after it burned down.

men move an editing table outside across campus

The final push. When the move is complete, the University Archives will occupy several rooms on the fourth floor of Ellis Library. A majority of their holdings are stored offsite at the University Records Center. In the last few years, they’ve also made use of the University of Missouri Libraries Depository, a 12,000-square-foot storage space that can hold around 1.4 million items.

a man examines the table

Safe in its new home in Ellis Library, Huelsbergen examines the table. The remainder of the University Archives in Lewis Hall are anticipated to be moved by the end of the fall 2021 semester.

The University Archives are open to researchers from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every weekday. For more information about the University Archives, to schedule a research appointment or to see a sample of their vast holdings, visit their website.

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