Miners bolting supports for mine roof, 1970

The board of directors of the University Museum at Indiana University of Pennsylvania will host a special fundraising gala, the Black Diamond Jubilee, in conjunction with the museum exhibition A Walk Through Time: Pennsylvania Coal Culture, Featuring the Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Company Collection.

The gala is September 11, 2009, in the Blue Room, on the first floor of Sutton Hall. The event begins with cocktails and the exhibition preview at 6:00 p.m. It will be followed by informal dining and musical entertainment at 7:30 p.m.

The NewLanders will present a concert of American music for this event, offering contemporary songs and stories about our region and nation, with dulcimer, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and bass.

The event benefits the University Museum. Cost is $75 per person, and reservations are due by September 2.

For more information or to make reservations, call 724-357-2397.

Miners lined up at Sample Run lamp house, 1930The Pennsylvania Coal Culture exhibition will be available from September 15 to December 5. A reception, free and open to the community, will be held at the museum September 19 at 6:00 p.m. to celebrate the exhibition's opening.

The exhibit is curated by Harrison Wick and Rhonda Yeager of IUP Special Collections and University Archives.

Artifacts and documents of coal-mining life in Western Pennsylvania are presented jointly by IUP Special Collections and University Archives, the Tri-Area Historical Society and Liberty Museum in Nanty Glo, the Historical and Genealogical Society of Indiana County, and private collectors.

The exhibit features artifacts, photographs, mine maps, and ledgers that document Western Pennsylvania bituminous coal culture, including the work and lives of miners and their families, the company towns, and community activities such as baseball games.

The show also features photos and items that document the operations of Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Company and other companies, mine disasters, coal miner strikes, and unionization.

Slate pickers at Lucerne, 1910

Some of the “company towns” in Indiana and Cambria counties that are highlighted in the exhibit are Clymer, Commodore, Coral, Ernest, Heilwood, Iselin, Nanty Glo, Sagamore, and Whiskey Run.

IUP actively preserves coal culture through the Special Collections and University Archives, the Institute for Mine Mapping, Archival Procedures and Safety (IMAPS), and the Center for Northern Appalachian Studies.

The Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Company collection is the largest manuscript grouping housed in the IUP Special Collections and University Archives. This collection represents more than one hundred years of local history. R&P was organized in 1881, and the collection is a complete record of the company until R&P was purchased by CONSOL Coal Group in 1998.

More information about the collection is available at the Special Collections and University Archives website.

IMAPS is a multidisciplinary group of faculty, staff and students who work together to digitize, record and preserve historical mining maps.

IMAPS has digitized more than five hundred maps, including mining maps from the Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Company, using a large format Cruse scanner. Institute personnel also are developing a Web-based searchable database of Pennsylvania mine maps. See the IMAPS website for more information.

The University Museum is free and open to the public on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 2:00 to 6:30 p.m., Thursday from noon to 7:30 p.m., and Saturday from noon to 4:00 p.m.

Other exhibitions planned at the University Museum for the 2009–2010 academic year include Emerging Artists: Graduate Art Exhibition, January 31 or February 6 through March 6, 2010, with a public reception February 6 from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m., and Ron Donoughe: Plein Air Paintings, March 25 through May 1, 2010, featuring landscapes and town scenes in Western Pennsylvania made on site by Donoughe, an IUP alumnus. This show may be extended through June 2010.