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Hollins University Working Group

In spring 2020, students in the Cultural Property, Rights and Museum course began working on an exhibit, Unveiling the Past: Reckoning with Our History of Enslavement at Hollins University, in conjunction with members of the Hollins University Working Group on Slavery and Its Contemporary Legacies. The exhibit examines objects and images held by the University Archives in the Wyndham Robertson Library at Hollins University. Material researched by students are on display in the virtual exhibit. Those working on this exhibit wanted to create a public space to reckon with our Hollins past and give a forum to those who were not given a voice, name, space, or attention in the past.

Highlights: The Hollins Bell

The Hollins Bell was originally used at the hotel at Botetourt Springs which eventually became what is Hollins University today. It is unknown where the bell was manufactured. It was used at Hollins from 1842-1899. The bell originally hung in the kitchen that used to exist behind West Building. It was then moved to the belfry in the West Building roof. Then, before its eventual retirement, it was hung in the Main building when it was completed in 1869. The bell was retired in 1899 for being too quiet when students started using it as an excuse for being late. The bell was rung at various times throughout the day to signal things like wake-up, daily activities, church, and bedtime. In the 1899 Spinster there are several odes to the bell and songs written about its removal.

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