UNH's past has been interesting right from the start

Wednesday, September 21, 2016
HP Hood &Son memorabilia

Memorabilia from HP Hood and Sons, on loan from collector Jim George, is on display at the University Museum. Charles H. Hood was the sole graduate of the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in 1880.

After 150 years, you’d expect a few stories. Like the one about when real wildcats (the UNH mascot) were brought to football games. And the fact that not one but two alumni have received the Medal of Honor, and another two became astronauts. Oh, and you know that sugary-sweet flavoring that Cap'n Crunch has? It was developed by Pam Low '51, based on a butter-and-brown-sugar topping her grandmother served over rice.

While there is no way to tell all the stories at once, a curiosity-satisfying sampling will be shared in a new exhibit opening Sept. 29 at the University Museum. “Who Knew? Fun Facts About UNH You May Not Know” celebrates the 150th anniversary of the university’s founding and ushers in homecoming weekend, Sept. 29 – Oct. 1. 

“Mylinda (Woodward, assistant university archivist) and I wanted to create an exhibit that wouldn’t duplicate what other Celebrate 150 exhibits were providing,” says Dale Valena, museum curator. “Through an eclectic and entertaining collection of stories about inventions, Oscars, aliens, food and more, the exhibit shows the wide reach and influence UNH has in the world.”

Celebrate 150

Come Hear Us Roar, Sept. 30 at the Whittemore Center, when we kick off the celebration that marks 150 years of all that UNH is and has been. 

A large oil painting of John Conant (1790-1877) greets visitors to the museum. A farmer and state legislator, Conant donated $70,000 for student scholarships and the construction of a dorm and dining hall at the then-named New Hampshire College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in Hanover. The dining hall was named after Conant, as was one of the first five buildings erected in Durham when the university moved here in 1893.

Among other artifacts in the exhibit are photographs of three graduates from the class of 1898: Herbert F. Moore, who wrote the words to the university’s alma mater; Tomakichi Hirokawa, the college’s second international student, and Helen Buzzell, who collected pictures of classmates and, years later, donated them to UNH. 

old photo of three alums

(l to r) Herbert F. Moore, Tomakichi Hirokawa and Helen Buzzell, graduates of the class of 1898.

Memorabilia from H.P. Hood & Sons is part of the exhibit as well. Charles H. Hood, the sole graduate of the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in 1880, went on to become president of his father’s dairy business, which today has annual sales of more than $2 billion. Hood was the first alumnus to make a major gift to the university; he donated $200,000 to build an infirmary. Hood House still bears his name. 

And did you know:

  • Hamilton Smith Hall, built in 1907, was UNH’s first library and then became the home of the English department in 1958 when Dimond Library was built behind Thompson Hall.
  • Dimond Library is named for Ezekiel Dimond, the very first professor at the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts.

The University Museum and Dimond Library are hosting a series of events to commemorate the sesquicentennial, including displays, photo exhibits and lectures. A complete list can be found here. “Who Knew? Fun Facts About UNH You May Not Know” runs through Nov. 18.  The University Museum is located on the first level of Dimond Library.

Jody Record ’95 | Communications and Public Affairs | jody.record@unh.edu