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Learning Lab Exhibit Showcases Students' Scholarly Work With UK Special Collections

By Whitney Hale

(April 15, 2015) — University of Kentucky Libraries Special Collections Research Center will host an opening reception for an exhibit highlighting four undergraduates' Learning Lab internship projects from 3-4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 16, in the Great Hall of the Margaret I. King Library Building. The event will feature presentations from the four Learning Lab interns, including commentary on their scholarly projects.

The Learning Lab internship, now in its third year, is an experiential learning program that introduces undergraduate students to archival processing and theory using rare and unique resources in UK's Special Collections Research Center. The program is designed to increase the accessibility of those resources and research output by mandating that all students complete a scholarly project during the internship.

Learning Lab intern Ann Baillie, a rising junior and English major from the Chicago area, processed The Cakes and Ale Club records belonging to library advocate and lawyer Samuel M. Wilson. Baillie's project on the records is a scholarly article that will be published in a new archives-related journal called The Reading Room, published by the University at Buffalo (Buffalo, New York). Publication is expected for summer 2015.

Faith VanMeter, a rising senior majoring in psychology and piano performance from Greensburg, Kentucky, created a digital humanities rendering of the history of Lexington's Narcotics Farm, which closed in 1974. VanMeter's project dovetails with STEM research she has done as a Chellgren Fellow that studies correlations between substance abuse, socioeconomic status and child abuse. VanMeter's scholarly project will be a poster presentation at the 2015 Kentucky Library Association Conference to be held in September in Louisville, Kentucky.  

Interns Lauren Farmer, a graduating history and secondary social studies education senior from Lexington, and Kristen Thornsberry, a rising senior and history major from Richmond, Kentucky, have processed the Faulconer, Johnstone, Shelby, Tevis and Potter papers, which comprise various Kentucky-related topics of the hemp industry, Southern economics, slavery and genealogy. Their scholarly project is a digital humanities research tool integrating GIS and primary source documents from the collection to explore various aspects of Kentucky and broader Southern history.

In addition to the exhibit and presentation, the Special Collections' Learning Lab projects will be available online by April 20. For more information, contact Stacie Williams, Learning Lab manager at UK Special Collections Research Center, at 859- 257-8371 or email

UK Special Collections Research Center is home to UK Libraries' collection of rare books, Kentuckiana, the Archives, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the King Library Press, the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center, the Bert T. Combs Appalachian collection and the digital library, ExploreUK. The mission of the center is to locate and preserve materials documenting the social, cultural, economic and political history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.