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Art of Building: Juniata Celebrates Carnegie Hall\'s 100th Year

(Posted April 9, 2007)

The interior of Carnegie Library.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Whether serving as a repository of knowledge as a Carnegie Library or as a repository of fine art as the Juniata College Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall will celebrate itself with a photography exhibit documenting its 100-year history as a college building in \"A Century of Change: One Hundred Years at Carnegie Hall\" from Thursday, April 19 through Sept. 8. There will be a short talk, \"Why I Stayed at Juniata,\" by former Juniata art professor Steven Barbash, distinguished professor emeritus at SUNY-Cortland, at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19 in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science. The talk will be followed by a 5 p.m. reception at the museum. Carnegie Hall was completed in 1907, paid for in part by a grant from U.S. Steel magnate Andrew Carnegie and served as a library for Juniata until 1963, when the college\'s current Beeghly Library was completed. To honor the centennial anniversary of the historic building, Juniata student Jillian Seraphin, a senior from Doylestown, Pa. majoring in museum studies and art history, entered the dusty photographic archives of Juniata\'s art museum, sorted through thousands of photographs and selected the more than 35 photographs presented in the exhibition. Seraphin, who worked as a registrar\'s intern at the Houston Museum of Fine Art last summer, researched and curated the entire exhibit, working for an entire year collating photos, writing educational copy, and selecting and framing selections. \"While our museum studies program uses students to curate different exhibitions, it\'s pretty rare for one student to curate an entire show,\" explains Jennifer Streb, assistant professor of art history and a curator at the museum. The exhibit will focus on five different categories: people (photos showing Juniata founders and others), campus views, campus life, sports and traditional events (such as Mountain Day, the annual cancel-classes holiday created every fall). Seraphin made an initial first cut of several hundred photographs, including a shot of President Theodore Roosevelt, who was traveling through Huntingdon on a campaign train. \"It was really overwhelming at times, but I really liked looking through these photos to discover the most interesting examples,\" Seraphin says. \"I also looked at several histories of Juniata and used several books in the library as well as newspaper articles.\" The College built the library to house a growing collection of archival materials, most notably a collection of about 11,000 books and pamphlets relating to Church of the Brethren History donated by Abraham Cassel and about 1,000 volumes donated by the descendents of James Quinter, Juniata\'s first president. Juniata\'s third president, Martin G. Brumbaugh, decided to build a new library to house the holdings. He wrote a series of letters to Andrew Carnegie, asking the philanthropist to fund the library. After a year\'s worth of correspondence, Carnegie who, upon retirement, began using his vast steel fortune to build libraries across the country, agreed to give $15,000 if the college raised matching funds. Juniata raised more than $20,000 and Carnegie raised his original commitment to $28,000. New York City-based architect Samuel Tilton, who designed many of the Carnegie Libraries, was hired to build Juniata\'s facility. The entire building was built for $28,000, with the college-raised funds to be used for maintenance. Later, two ornate stained-glass windows at each end of the central part of the building were installed, honoring Jacob Zuck, Juniata\'s first faculty member, and James Quinter. The windows were installed in 1908.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.