BY SEBASTIAN ENCINA, Collections Manager
As many of our friends have noticed, there is a lot of construction happening around the Kelsey Museum. To the north, the Trotter Multicultural Center is creating a new home for itself. To the south, LSA is expanding in order to house the Opportunity Hub. Both of these are exciting projects that will pay dividends for the Kelsey, with new guests and neighbors we can partner with, bring to the Museum, and be friends with.
The construction around us speaks to the long and constantly changing history of the U-M campus. For years, we have become accustomed to our neighbors: the trees to our north and LSA to our south. But as we have seen around campus, nothing remains the same for too long.
For this month’s “From the Archives,” we present two photographs showing how Newberry Hall appeared in the early 1900s, when it was still the future home of the Kelsey Museum (the Kelsey occupied Newberry Hall in 1928). In these photographs, taken by George R. Swain, Newberry Hall had different neighbors. To the north, trees and the Helen Newberry Residence, which still stands. To the south, a house — though not much in the photos gives us any clues about it, or indeed if it was a house at all.
For people who have been working at or visiting the Kelsey for years, the surprise lies to the west. Where Upjohn is now there used to be a parking lot, big enough for 20 cars. However, in these photos, particularly M8.1087, we see the structure that the parking lot replaced. It looks like a house, though no further information accompanies these images.
Through word of mouth, there have been suggestions that gas stations also used to be near the Kelsey, but we do not see that in these images.
Spend enough time on the U-M campus and you will notice much construction throughout the area. It seems the University is constantly expanding and changing. Going through the archives and photographs, we begin to understand that this is not new. Changes have been happening since U-M arrived in Ann Arbor. And it is safe to say changes will continue for many years to come.