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Dean’s Message, June 2019

Celebrating “Spike 150” with Exhibitions

During these beautiful spring days, I love seeing the trees and flowers in full bloom and the mountains at their greenest, with just a little snow on top to remind us that winter was indeed here just a few days ago. While there are many reasons to spend time outdoors, this is also the perfect time to visit the Marriott Library. In joining with the community to celebrate “Spike 150,” the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike and the wedding of the rails that occurred on May 10, 1869, the library is featuring four different exhibitions this summer and fall.

On level five, we are hosting the exhibition “Following in the Footprints of Chinese Railroad Workers,” created by the Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association. This thoughtful display features “then and now” photographs of significant locations along the line and brings to light the crucial role that Chinese immigrants played in completing the railroad.

On level three you will find an incredible exhibition entitled “Path to the Pacific: Building the Transcontinental Railroad,” which features an enormous photograph of the famous “Wedding of the Rails,” taken at the driving of the Golden Spike. Rare books, archival materials, photographs, and artistic works from Special Collections make up this exhibition.

The exhibition “Path to the Pacific: Building the Transcontinental Railroad” features a display of rare books, archival materials, and two gallery walls showcasing photographs and artistic works depicting key locations and events in the building of the Transcontinental Railroad.

This fall, the exhibition Train Tracts, which features artists books created by artists and authors from across the nation, will be available for your viewing on level 1. These books have been “riding” on Amtrak, enjoyed by travelers near and far.

A photo of the book "The Distances We've Traveled" by Marnie Powers-Torrey
In November 2018, Amie Tullius invited Marnie Powers-Torrey, Head of the Marriott Library’s Book Arts Program and Managing Director of Red Butte Press, to contribute to the production and dissemination of the traveling literary journal, Train Tracts.
This exhibit tells the story of Chinese Railroad Workers and their contribution to the construction and completion of the transcontinental railroad 150 years ago.

“Scenic Routes: Utah as the Center of the Railroad in the West” will be displayed on level 4 June 15 – September 13 and will feature rare book and archival materials from Special Collections related to the development of the railroad after 1869. Materials include famous resort and scenic railroads, the railroads contribution to mining development in Utah, and the stories of mostly immigrant railroad workers.

A historical photo of several women and children near a train.
A photograph of passengers on Utah Railroad from the Wilbur H. Smith photograph collection.

The Marriott Library’s Special Collections contains thousands of items related to the settling and development of the west, and it is one of the largest collections of primary source materials in the United States. So, it is only fitting that we host these fine displays on “Spike 150” and this extraordinary historic moment. After all, we have “All U Need” to learn more about “Spike 150.”

Come see us!

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