Category Archives: Events

Antarctic Adventures Exhibit

Antarctic Adventures – an exhibit of photographs by Michael Wizevich, from Physics and Earth Sciences Department, will be on display at the Elihu Burritt library during the month of October 2010.

On Monday October 18, noon, Prof. Wizevich will talk about his two expeditions to Antarctica.  The talk will take place in Special Collections, at the Burritt library.  Campus community is cordially invited.

During the 1993-94 and 1995-96 austral summers I was part of two Antarctic expeditions, the first one with the New Zealand Antarctic Program, and the second one with the United States Antarctic Program.  Both projects were in the Transantarctic Mountains and Dry Valley region of Central Victoria Land of the Ross, a sector of Antarctic that is directly south of New Zealand.

About ninety eight percent of Antarctica is covered by ice, but the rugged peaks of the Transantarctic Mountains form a long, exposed spine across the continent.  The mountains are covered with a thick mantle of snow and ice flowing from the central cap of continental ice, the Polar Plateau.  Most of the major valleys in the Transantarctic Mountains are filled with ice streams, except for ice-free “oases” such as the McMurdo Dry Valley region.  All the Dry Valley floors are bare rocky ground, and some valleys contain rare lakes and rivers. The ground is not snow covered because the air is so dry it evaporates more snow than falls.

Our studies required remote camps. Helicopters, the primary transportation for projects located within 100 miles of the bases, brought us to our sites.  Our camps consisted of Scott tents for sleeping quarters – essentially the same as those used by Captain Robert Scott and others in the early part of century – and a weather report tent for work and dining during the drilling expedition.

First Expedition (1993-1994): Ancient Antarctic Environments This expedition studied Devonian age (>400 million yrs. ago) sedimentary rocks at Table Mountain, located at 2170 m (7100 ft) in the Transantarctic Mountains.  Table Mountain is surrounded fabulous views of glaciers (Ferrar, Taylor & Emmanuel) and distant peaks (including Mt. Feather).  Cliff faces in the region contain contrasting rock types; light-colored  sedimentary rocks were intruded by dark Ferrar Dolerite, an igneous rock which originated as liquid magma and filled in the gigantic cracks that formed during the break-up (rifting) of the supercontinent Gondwana, about 200 million years ago.  Ferrar Dolerite and nearby Ferrar Glacier are named after Hartley Ferrar, the geologist on Scott’s Discovery Expedition (1901-04).

Second Expedition (1995-1996): Climate Change in Antarctica

This expedition studied recent (50,000 to 2 million years old) permafrost sediments in two sites within the McMurdo Dry Valleys — Taylor Valley and Miers Valley, and glacial till (20 million?) on Mt. Feather. Because we wanted to keep the core frozen we went early in Antarctic field season, when temperatures near sea level remained below 0° F.  The Mt. Feather location was at nearly 2600 m (8500 ft) elevation.   It was very cold and windy, but the location afforded spectacular views of Beacon Valley and surrounding area.

The sediments were extracted by a gasoline-powered drill rig, developed and operated by Russian scientists.  Later lab studies of the material in the U.S. and Russia analyzed core material for microorganisms.  The objective was to use the microbes in the permafrost layers to reconstruct paleoclimatic history of the area during the last few million years.  Ancient microbes are indicators of past climate in Antarctica because certain microbes thrive under “warm” conditions and others during “cold”.  Since sediment is more-or-less continually being deposited and permanently frozen, we would be able to see a continuous record of past climate (in theory).

Drilling was slow because drilling fluids were not used in order to prevent contamination of modern microbes in the cores.  Keeping the cores frozen and sterile required using a custom-made freezer box in the field and in transport back to the U.S.  The cores are now stored (still frozen) in the Antarctic Core Storage Facility in Tallahassee, Florida.

Elihu Burritt Bicentennial Celebration

Elihu Burritt, also known as “The Learned Blacksmith”, is New Britain’s most famous son.  The Elihu Burritt Library is spearheading the celebration of the 200th anniversary of his birth and is planning several events for this fall semester.

Elihu Burritt was born in New Britain  on December 8, 1810.  He became a world citizen, linguist, abolitionist, reformer, peace activist and penny postage advocate.  President Abraham Lincoln appointed him a Consular Agent to Birmingham, England.  Elihu Burritt stayed attached to his hometown, and during his last years of his life become an active citizen.  He died on March 6, 1879 and is buried at the Fairview Cemetery.

The library was named after Elihu Burritt in 1959.  The choice of name was supported by many local organizations and  Robert C. Vance, the publisher and editor of The Herald.

For more information on Elihu Burritt please see the Special Collections/Archives website:

The opening event for the Burritt Bicentennial will take place on Wednesday, September 22 at 11:45 in the Special Collections reading room in the library.

“Elihu Burritt:  Nineteenth-Century Pioneer for Transatlantic Peace, Social Justice, and Human Rights” a lecture by Dr. Wendy Chmielewski.

Wendy Chmielewski is the George R. Cooley Curator of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection.  The Peace Collection holds a significant set of materials on Elihu Burritt.  Chmielewski’s work on the role of women in the U.S. and British nineteenth century peace movements has included exploring the participation of Elihu Burritt as well. She has published several works on the role of women in the peace movement and in intentional/utopian communities form the nineteenth century to the present.  Her most recent publication (2009) is  a co-edited collection of scholarly essays on Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams, titled Jane Addams and the Practice of Democracy.

“When Humanity Fails” Exhibit April 19-23, 2010

When Humanity Fails

The exhibit “When Humanity Fails”, brought to campus by the Hillel Jewish Student Organization, fills the growing schism that is arising between the dying generation of survivors and the new generation of youth that is struggling to comprehend the depths of evil that abounded in the Holocaust. While Holocaust education has certainly grown in importance, the method by which it is taught focuses on the death and destruction without teaching students about the lessons that can be learned and how their emotional and intellectual responses can be channeled into constructive action and awareness.

When humanity fails exhibit photoWe hope bringing this exhibit to campus will create a more open, informed and tolerant community. More information can be found by contacting Pam Majify at or on the exhibits website

We hope to see you there and at future Hillel programming.

Lecture by Dr. Vijay Prashad on March 17th

Dr. Vijay Prashad will present a lecture entitled “Politics, Natural Disasters, and Reconstruction” on Wednesday, March 17th. Dr. Prashad is the George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History as well as Director and Professor of International Studies at Trinity College. The event will be held in the Burritt Library Special Collections Reading Room (Main Level) at Noon. Light refreshments will be served.

The lecture is sponsored by The Office of the Provost and International and Area Studies.

From Her Hands: Latin American Textile Art

“From Her Hands: Latin American Textile Art” opened at CCSU’s Burritt Library on February 1, 2010. This exhibit showcases three Latin American textile art forms handcrafted by women. They are Chilean arpilleras, Panamanian molas and Guatemalan weavings. The exhibit runs through the month of February.

Latin American Textile Art
Latin American Textile Art

Arpilleras are hand sewn of cotton. They are backed by burlap, called ‘arpillera’ in Spanish. These three dimensional appliqué textiles depict the history of Chile and the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet in chilling detail. Scenes of torture, interment, and exile are juxtaposed with scenes of grief, loneliness, protest and, ultimately, happiness that the dictatorship has come to an end. The centerpiece is a 29” by 76” quilt portraying a complete history of the country. The display is accompanied by quotes and a poem from Dr. Marjorie Agosín, whose collection is on loan to the library.

Molas are beautifully hand sewn reverse appliqué art created by the Kuna of Panamá. The molas are both sewn and worn by Kuna women and girls. They depict daily life, spirituality and folk tales of the Kuna. Photographs by Dr. Galen Frysinger and information accompany this display, on loan from the collection of Carol Brault.

Guatemalan weavings, the traditional dress of Maya women, are created on a backstrap loom. They demonstrate craftsmanship excellence. The huipil, or traditional blouse, of Santiago de Atitlán is hand embroidered with birds and flowers. Photographs, information and books accompany the display on this subject. It is on loan from the collections of Carol Brault and Dr. Abigail Adams.

Latin American Textile Art
Latin American Textile Art

Dr. Marjorie Agosín, a noted expert on Chilean Arpilleras, will speak in the Library’s Special Collections Room on February 17, 2010 at 4PM. She will discuss the Pinochet regime and its influence on the women who created arpilleras. A slide show and refreshments will accompany the lecture.

Since Stonewall Exhibit

You are cordially invited to attend the opening reception



Thursday, June 4, 2009

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Elihu Burritt Library, Special Collections

Central Connecticut State University

There will be a lecture by Elizabeth Kaminski (CCSU Sociology) and refreshments will be served.

Please RSVP by May 29, 2009 to:

Frank Gagliardi


This June will mark the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 members of the New York Police Department raided the Stonewall Inn located on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village. This time, unlike previous raids, the gay community fought back. Rioting broke out and continued for five days ending on July 2nd.

The New York Times thought so little of the raid they buried the story on page 33 the following day. Probably no one realized at the time that this event would become the iconic symbol of the gay civil rights movement. This uprising marked the beginning, as the Advocate stated, “of a movement to decriminalize, demedicalize, and devillainize us ( i.e., gays and lesbians).”

To mark this anniversary, materials will be on display during the month of June, from Burritt Library’s extensive collection of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender books, newsletters, periodicals, ephemera and archives.

Prof. Stephen Cohen to Give Sigma Tau Delta Lecture on April 21

Professor Cohen
Professor Stephen Cohen
The local chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honor Society, is pleased to present an installment in its Ex Libris series:

Professor Stephen Cohen will give a talk entitled, “Falling into Form: From Comics to Comedy,” at 4pm on April 21 in the Special Collections room of the Elihu Burritt Library.

The public is most cordially invited to attend.

Shadow and Flame: Myth, Monsters, and Mother Nature in Middle-earth

Join us for a fascinating talk with Dr. Kris Larsen, on Wednesday, November 12, from 7:00-8:00 pm in the Burritt Library classroom (third floor, Reference)



Fear, especially of the unknown, is a universally shared emotion, as famed fantasy author J. R. R. Tolkien understood well. Like Middle-earth, our everyday world is filled with uncertainty and peril, including natural forces such as earthquakes and volcanoes. With the benefit of modern science, we can understand these terrifying events as being part of the normal process of the world. Our ancient ancestors, however, enjoyed no such luxury, and described these catastrophic events in terms of monsters and malicious gods. Likewise, unusual astronomical events such as meteors, eclipses, and auroras were also considered to be “monstrous.”  Geologist Dorothy Vitaliano coined the term geomythology in 1968 to describe the scientific truth hidden in some seemingly fantastical myths concerning the natural environment. Given that Tolkien clearly stated that Middle-earth is our Earth, and that the natural environment itself plays the role of a major character in his works, it is not surprising that we should find a large body of monster-centered geomythology (and corresponding astromythology) within the pages of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. Join us on an exploration of the intersection between fact, fiction, and myth in the world of Middle-earth.


Free refreshments will be served.