A Tribute to the Long Magenta Line

This website is dedicated to the history of the Long Magenta Line. It is a phrase that refers to the large collection of students who have passed through the halls of Muskingum University since it was founded in 1837. The Long Magenta Line is a way of looking back and celebrating that past. It also has an eye to the future.

Locked away in the Muskingum University Archives is a collection of documents and images capturing moments in the long history of this institution. Preserving these documents and images and sharing them with generations of Muskingum alumni has always presented a challenge, but the internet and new digital technologies offer some promising solutions. Among the many interesting images currently stored in the Archives is a large collection of historic panoramic photos.

But sharing these images with an audience beyond the occasional solitary researcher has long seemed impractical. In the Fall of 2010 I approached Dr. Tom German, Assistant Professor of Digital Media Design at Muskingum to see if he had any ideas. Dr. German presented the challenge to Caleb Eno, Muskingum Class of 2012, and Digital Media Design major. Scanning and digitizing these images, some of which are more than a foot high and three feet long, presented more than a few technical obstacles. But beyond this, presenting them on a website in a viewer-friendly way was an even greater challenge. Caleb eagerly embraced the challenge, and this website is the result. While we did not have the time to digitize all of the panoramic pictures in the Archives collection, we have presented a large and representative sample of these images across the decades.

You can see images in their raw form, by clicking on the “Class Photos” button, but I would encourage you to use the “Picture Viewer,” which will allow you to pan and zoom for a closer look at these faces from the past (Requires Flash).

The panoramic photographs are just a beginning. Over the next year, as Muskingum prepares for the 175th Anniversary, I hope to enlist the aid of current Muskingum students and use the blog and other features of the website to share more documents and images from Muskingum’s past.

-William Kerrigan Cole Professor of American History and University Archivist