Fr. Peter Tynan, O.S.B., Librarian & Archivist
Outside the Curriculum and Special Collections Rooms on the lower level of the O’Grady Library you will find some interesting things. You will, of course, see one of the seven volumes of the Saint John’s Bible in its display case. Above that you can look at one of the first examples of a Study Bible map from the 1630s (that’s 380 years old, people). You will also find a couple display cases; one on the right of the Saint John’s Bible and one of the left. These cases have something new to show this coming academic year.
In the case to the left you find a display on local history entitled “History Begins at Home.” On top you will find a 1905 map of Olympia showing its promise as a new and growing city. Below there is another map, a Pioneer Map of Thurston Country. It shows our local county as it was in the 1850s when it was first settled with place names that continue to this day.
Besides maps there are three books on local history and some historic items out of the Special Collections vault. The books are simply an invitation to explore what is near. For while local history deals with what is near, we can be surprised at how time creates a distance between us and those who lived before us. We can grow to appreciate how many things have changed while other things stubbornly stay the same.
In the other case is a simple display featuring four brass rubbings made in Angkor, Cambodia. The rubbings were taken from one of the many temples that remain from the Khmer Empire (1000 – 1200 AD). While visitors today focus mostly on the ruins entwined by tree roots, the remains of the many temples still have a story to tell. While these stories are ancient and from a culture far from us, they deal with topics that are near to our hearts, like love.
So take a little time to stop by and appreciate what is both near and far. Gaining a new perspective is always a good thing.