Wright State launches $6.5 million campaign for new archives center

Wright State University has announced a $6.5 million fund raising campaign to create a new home for its historical archives.

Amanda Wright Lane, great grandniece of Wilbur and Orville Wright, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian David McCullough will chair the campaign, said President Cheryl Schrader during a WSU board meeting Friday.

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With the Discover Your Story campaign, Wright State will seek to transform the former corporate headquarters of the Wright-Patt Credit Union at 2455 Presidential Drive into the new home of the university's Special Collections and Archives, according to the school.

Wright State’s archives contains the largest Wright Brothers Collection in the world, first-edition works by Dayton poet Paul Laurence Dunbar and the archives of the Dayton Daily News among other historic archives, according to WSU.

The new archives center will be solely funded by donations because of the university’s ongoing financial struggles, Schrader said. The university slashed $30.8 million from its fiscal year 2018 budget in June in an attempt to begin correcting years of overspending.

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The proposed archives center will include the following amenities, according to the university:

• A reading room where students, scholars and visitors may examine historic materials in an up-close and personal way.

• An exhibit gallery housing rotating exhibitions that highlight the depth and breadth of Wright State’s collections.

• A conference room for lectures, meetings and special events.

• A classroom to welcome area school children and students from Wright State’s public history graduate program.

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• An oral history recording and teaching lab where students, faculty, researchers and the community can record their stories.

• A media lab for listening and viewing oral histories and watching original film footage.

• A preservation lab, processing room, clean room and exhibit prep room that will give staff the tools and space they need to adequately care for the history of the Dayton region.

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