Collections and Resources, Digital Library, Exhibits, North Carolina History, UNC History

Water in UNC History is Topic of New Virtual Exhibit

Drawing of Old Well

A drawing of the Old Well on a 1900 letter from UNC President Francis Venable.

A new online exhibit, Water at UNC-Chapel Hill, explores the role that water has played in the history of the University.

The exhibit is the latest addition to The Carolina Story: A Virtual Museum of University History. It connects with the University’s two-year academic theme “Water in Our World,” which seeks to mobilize the campus, inspire interdisciplinary research, and spark new thinking about water issues.

Water at UNC-Chapel Hill features links to brief narratives and 19 sets of images taken from the University Archives, the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, and the North Carolina Collection Gallery.

Exhibit Highlights

  • Photographs of local waterways and the Old Well;
  • A 1793 letter from “Father of the University” William Richardson Davie in which he described the land on which the future university would be built as having an “abundance of springs of the purest and finest water”;
  • An image of the indoor pool inside Bynum Gymnasium, now used as office space for the Graduate School;
  • Images and materials related to the severe droughts of the 1960s and 70s, when the University Lake reservoir fell to one-sixth of its normal level, leading Chapel Hill to purchase water from Durham and institute usage restrictions.

The Virtual Museum tells the story of the history of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill through online exhibits of digital texts and images.

Other exhibits on the site include campus architectural highlights, Carolina’s literary history, and student life at Carolina.

For more information, contact Records Services Archivist Lawrence Giffin at (919) 962-6402 or

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