The McCalla School, located on the edge of the IU Bloomington campus between Indiana Avenue and Dunn Street, and between 9th and 10th Street, is undergoing a $6 million renovation funded by the state of Indiana, with additional support provided by the John W. Anderson Foundation and the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation. Upon completion, the newly upgraded space will deliver innovative, hands-on classroom and instruction tools, interactive digital displays, multiple gallery spaces, and a multipurpose room for events and other needs.

Announced by President McRobbie in spring of 2020, McCalla will be the home to the new Collections Teaching, Research & Exhibition Center (CTREC), which will engage students, faculty, and public audiences with IU’s world-class collections that span disciplines, time periods, and geography. These include many significant art, cultural, and historical collections across all of IU’s nine campuses. The McCalla School will serve as an accessible hub to faculty, students, visiting researchers, and the public, allowing collections to be used across disciplinary boundaries, so that objects can be connected in new and imaginative ways, including via physical exhibits, digital content, classroom instruction, hands-on learning lab interactions, and public performances in the building’s new multipurpose room.

The public galleries will feature rotating content curated by University Collections staff and by collections professionals, faculty, and students from across IU and from many different disciplines. Media kiosks will feature audiovisual content from IU collections, including selections from the 350,000 films, videos, and audio recordings recently digitized via IU’s Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative (MDPI). Classrooms, the collection lab, and the multipurpose room will be available via reservation to faculty, staff, and students who wish to have the opportunity to more deeply engage in collections content.

McCalla exhibits and events will not focus on a single type of collection; rather, they will feature materials from across Indiana University, both from Bloomington and from collections on campuses across the state. McCalla will thus provide an opportunity to have different IU collections speak to one another in new and different ways, with an emphasis on collaboration across disciplines and with a multiplicity of curatorial voices. This interdisciplinary approach is one that few universities—indeed, few collections anywhere—can offer, and it will allow IU to give new life to these collections and to enhance its research, teaching, and service mission.

What can you tell me about McCalla’s gallery exhibits?

  • All galleries will be free and open to the public
  • A selection of exhibits will be semi-permanent, made up of materials from across the myriad IU collections
  • Faculty and their students who are interested in creating exhibits can work with University Collections staff in creating temporary shows
  • Galleries are available to all IU collections to display their materials or to collaborate on exhibits with faculty, other non-IU collections staff, or community partners
  • McCalla will provide select display cases, portable media screens, and other basic exhibit necessities to help with the exhibit design process
  • An exhibit preparation space will be available to partners in the basement of the facility
One of the original hand-colored "cels" prepared for the animated cartoon sequences of Steel and America, a color film made by Walt Disney Productions for American Iron and Steel Institute. Courtesy of the Calumet Regional Archives
 A deep sea diving helmet from the Center for Underwater Science.

Collections images courtesy of Calumet Regional Archives; Ray Bradbury Center, the Sage Collection, University Collections, Center for Underwater Science.

Do you love the many art, archival, science, and other collections that IU has to offer? Are you wishing for a new space in Bloomington that showcases IU’s cultural and scientific riches? Please consider giving to University Collections’ new Collections, Teaching, Research and Exhibition Center (CTREC) in the historic McCalla School. Your generosity will help to fund upcoming exhibits and events in IU’s newest public collections space.

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