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Louisiana Tech Special Collections, Manuscripts & Archives

July 31, 2019Written by: Grant Artero

Located in the heart of North Louisiana, Ruston has a wealth of history that adds to the special charm the city is known for. To help share this information with both visitors and locals, many museums are open to the public that specialize in this history. One of these museums is the Special Collections, Manuscripts and Archives (SCMA) located on the campus of Louisiana Tech University. This collection of history includes Louisiana Tech memorabilia, artifacts from the North Louisiana area, and pieces of literature dating back to 1350 A.D.  

Louisiana Tech Memorabilia

Being located on Louisiana Tech’s campus, the SCMA has a plethora of mementos that reveal the changes that Tech has seen throughout the centuries. As part of their Textile Collection, articles of clothing show the shift in traditions that has occurred on Tech’s campus. Perhaps the most notable of this collection of clothing being the “Pup Hats” and green beanies freshman male and female students were required to wear up until the 1960’s. Pins, commemorative coke bottles, and many more items are on display in the SCMA. The newest addition to the collection will be in celebration of Tech’s 125th Anniversary and will showcase the various outfits and accessories students would have worn from decades past. This new exhibit is planned to be revealed around September 2019. 

Blue Jacket

Pup Cap

Camp Ruston Collection

During World War II, Ruston was home to one of the largest Prisoner of War camps found in the country. It held prisoners from Italy, Germany, and other enemy countries. The SCMA contains pieces of clothing including war uniforms and other war-related trinkets. While some of this collection has been taken off of display to make room for the new 125th Anniversary Exhibit, smaller items can still be seen by spectators. 

Camp Ruston Artifacts

Cultural Artifacts

A large portion of the museum is dedicated to artifacts recovered from the Native Americans of the Ouachita River Valley in South Arkansas. The collection displays arrowheads and other relics of the Caddo Indians. This includes Caddo Indian Pottery showcasing various designs and dates of origin. 



Historic Literature

Perhaps the most impressive collection in the SCMA is the Frellsen-Fletcher Smith Collection which houses several pieces of signed literature from artists such as Aldous Huxley, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mark Twain, and many more. In addition to this collection, the SCMA showcases pieces of illuminated lighting manuscripts dating back to 1350 A.D. These pages contain pieces of gold, silver, and other metals that would reflect candlelight as the monks wrote in the dark. The pages that these documents are written are also made out of animal skin, and the veins of these animals can still be seen if held up to the light. Dozens of other pieces of historical literature can be seen throughout the archives. 


If you find yourself on Louisiana Tech’s campus, be sure to stop by the Special Collections, Manuscripts and Archives located on the 4th Floor of Wyly Tower. The SCMA is open 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. on Friday.

Tags: Attractions  |  Museums

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