The Shippensburg University Postcard Collection in CONTENTdm features several postcards by Clyde A. Laughlin, "Postcard King of the Cumberland Valley." Laughlin lived and worked in Shippensburg during the first half of the twentieth century.
In response to the widespread unemployment caused by the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration initiated the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The Museum Extension Project (MEP) was a sub-agency of the WPA's Professional and Service Division. It provided funds for artists to produce three-dimensional objects and printed materials that were used as visual aids in tax-supported schools, libraries and museums. The materials taught children about housing, food, clothing, art, transportation, industries, and natural resources. Children used the materials to create presentations that helped them learn while having fun. Pennsylvania’s MEP was the most active of all the states, perhaps because Martha Colt, the Director of the project, and a former school teacher, was the originator of the idea of hiring people to create educational aids.
In February 1937, Shippensburg State Teachers College started receiving materials from MEP. An article in the Campus Reflector from February 17, 1937, describes puppets and marionettes used for acting out plays; a miniature coal mine and oil well; and housing such as a wigwam, a plank house with a totem pole, a Japanese structure, and an African hut. These items were displayed in the museum that occupied the lower level of what was then the new Ezra Lehman Memorial Library, now Huber Art Center. The museum was under the auspices of Clara Bragg, head librarian, and Leslie Krebs, director of the museum and teacher of visual education, nature study, and geography. The following week, on February 24, a Reflector article reported on a presentation and puppet show in the chapel. Martha Colt showed color prints and explained how they were made. She also explained that the miniature buildings used to teach the development of human housing required the training of workers like die-cutters who later were able to get jobs in industry. Between 1935 and 1943 the PA MEP created approximately one million objects to help children learn while annually providing jobs to an average of 1200 people who otherwise would have been unemployed.
In preparation for World War II, the government directed the artists and craftspeople to produce propaganda and training materials for the military instead of for schools. Although the Pennsylvania Museum Extension Project ended in 1943, the collections at Shippensburg University and the Shippensburg Historical Society remain as evidence of this venture.
The digitization for Shippensburg University collections -- photographing and scanning the models and scanning the lantern slides and posters -- is the work of SU Archives & Special Collections Intern Emmanuel Ekekwe, Spring 2006. He also refurbished the models display and rehoused the lantern slides in acid free containers. The digital photographs of the Shippensburg Historical Society's models were taken by SU Archives & Special Collections Intern Danielle Watson, Spring 2008.
Shippensburg University Collections
Posters - Revolutionary War Costumes
Posters - Quilts
Lantern Slides - Primitive Dwellings
Lantern Slides - Classical Dwellings
Lantern Slides - American Dwellings
Lantern Slides - Floor Plans
Lantern Slides - Western Costumes
Lantern Slides - PA Native American Costumes
Lantern Slides - Asiatic Costumes
Shippensburg Historical Society Models
Industrial Miniature Models
History of Agriculture
Fish and Reptile Plaques
Miniature Indian Dioramas
Architectural Models - Prehistoric Dwellings
Architectural Models - Primitive Dwellings
Architectural Models - Historical Dwellings
Architectural Models - Early American
Architectural Models - Pennsylvania Historic
Architectural Models - Late American
Architectural Models - Racial and Nationalistic