BVU librarian creates Twitter campaign


Morgan McGrew

Morgan McGrew | A&L Editor

At 10:00 pm last Tuesday, Sept. 27, Buena Vista University launched a Twitter campaign commemorating the 60th anniversary of Old Main burning.

Old Main was the largest building on campus, and it was engulfed in fire and destroyed on the night of Sept. 27, 1956. The campus and community had to rally together to help the institution recover from the loss. The stones that make the center of today’s Victory Arch on campus were originally part of Old Main.

Last week’s Twitter campaign was categorized as a “Twitter Re-enactment.” Tweets were posted at the same times as the events surrounding the Old Main fire happened in 1956.

The re-enactment was the brainchild of BVU Reference Librarian and Archivist, Joan Curbow.

“I really liked that idea, and I’ve just always had it in the back of my mind,” she said. “The idea has just kinda been sitting there.”

Curbow got the idea for a Twitter Re-enactment from the Midwest Archives Conference that was held a couple of years back. One of the conference’s sessions suggested ways an institution’s archives can tie into its major events and big anniversaries. Conference speakers encouraged archivists to pick events that people know something about, but maybe not a ton.

So with BVU also celebrating its 125th anniversary, the timing just seemed right to Curbow.

“I’m on the 125th Planning Committee, so I’ve been thinking of ways the archives can raise its profile,” said Curbow.

The Twitter Re-enactment consisted of a series of tweets that followed a script written by Curbow. The Oct. 2, 1956, issue of the Storm Lake Register (now the Storm Lake Pilot Tribune) was used as the primary source for the re-enactment.

UMC supplemented the script with various media, including photos taken from the BVU archives. Animated GIFs were also produced from original footage of the burning.

“It’s been really fun to do,” said Curbow. “It’s been great to work with UMC. They’ve been wonderful.”

Be sure to check out the full Twitter Re-enactment here.


Photo by Morgan McGrew