Artifact Analysis

For this assignment, you’ll first have to find an artifact in the SAU archives. There are all kinds of items held here, to get your creative juices flowing, here are just a few topics represented in the archive’s collections:

• Pioneers in Michigan (Gitchell diaries)
• Free Methodist history
• Education (co-ed dorms, seminary farm, athletics)
• Mining (Lime Lake lime mines and railroad)
• Social Media (19th C. autograph books and 20th C. scrapbooks)
• Spring Arbor history (see the Bob Pohl postcard collection )
• History of photography (tintypes in Alice Barber collection)

If you want to use an artifact from a different source, that’s probably okay, but you need to run it by me first. Once you have your artifact, spend some time looking at it and, if relevant, using your other senses to examine it. You may also want to do some quick internet searches to find more information about it, but don’t worry about doing too much research yet.

The written portion of this assignment has three parts: observation, reflection, and questions. First, describe the artifact with as much detail as you can. Second, reflect on its possible significance and meaning; take this in as many different directions as you can. Finally, what questions does the artifact, and your reflections on it, raise? Your completed analysis should be at least two double-spaced pages. To cite your artifact, use this guide prepared by White Library.

To get an idea of where archival research can lead you, and how to begin finding sources about your artifacts, see this brief piece on postcards.