The UNH Museum, also known as Special Collections, will be opening an exhibit this weekend entitled “Who Knew? Fun facts about UNH you may not know.” The exhibit will be on display for all of Homecoming weekend.
UNH Museum Curator Dale Valena said that she and her team wanted to put something special together for the 150th event “so people could get a sense of the history.”
The exhibit is about alumni, the museum’s collections and various other items of interest, especially, according to Valena, “stories about people who invented something interesting or who donated a lot of money.”
There will also be fun facts displays about Special Collections. According to Valena, the museum collection includes about 700 articles of clothing from the 1600s and the 1700s. This collection includes a rarely seen day dress that was worn to do chores or during an uneventful day by those of lower classes, and it’s also featured in an Encyclopedia of American Textiles. This dress is particularly rare because most preserved gowns of that time period are fancier dresses. Day dresses like these were usually turned into rags and otherwise reused rather than preserved.
Other parts of the exhibit will include stories, such as that of the Hubbard Brothers, who introduced and developed the idea of genetically modifying chicken for more meat. There will also be trivia, such as the fact that the woman who wrote and is quoted to have said “Well behaved women seldom make history” was UNH professor and Doctoral alumna Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, who has since moved on to become a Harvard professor.
Valena also noted that the woman who developed the flavor for Cap’n Crunch cereal went to UNH and was a microbiology major.
One UNH alumnus created various board games, such as Electric Baseball.
Although this trivia is displayed in a convenient manner, it took a lot work to coordinate it.
A part of co-curator Mylinda Woodward’s job entails her to index items, such as TNH articles, into the museum catalog. When creating the trivia questions, she had a lot on her mind in regard to the school’s history. She called the process of working on it as being “On Ben’s Farm,” in reference to Benjamin Thompson of UNH lore. Valena and Woodward also put the exhibit together through online research, resources at the alumni center and magazines.
“We wanted to earmark about 20 unique stories that had interesting items to go with them,” Valena said. “We know people don’t want to just read wall panels.”
The hallway display includes interesting stories about how the university was during its early years; one of the more interesting pieces is the concept of UNH having “dining clubs” formed rather than the existence of specific halls for dining. The duo’s goal was to make the display diverse and interesting.
On Thursday, Sept. 29 at 2 p.m. in the Dimond Library, there will be a UNH birthday celebration for the 150th anniversary of the school. The New Hampshire Gentlemen (NH Gents) are scheduled to sing Happy Birthday and cupcakes will be served. There will also be fun UNH themed displays in the foyer and even a fun surprise involving photos.
Check out this exciting new exhibit and don’t miss the celebration!

Executive Editor