We are pleased to announce the release of the UNC T-Shirt Archive. This digital collection of Carolina T-shirts past and present provides a unique window into all aspects of student life at UNC. The website is available now, but it’s far from complete: for that, we need your help.
If you have a UNC shirt that is fun, interesting, important, or just looks good, we’d like to preserve a photo of it in the University Archives. Just take a photo of your favorite UNC-related shirt, and submit it to us. We’ll publish the images online and make sure that the digital files are preserved for posterity. Learn more about submitting shirts on the website or contact us directly via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), Twitter (@uncarchives), or Instagram (@uncarchives).
Why Have a T-Shirt Archive?
As archivists, we don’t just worry about the records and documents that are in our collections: we think a lot about what we’re missing. We want to build a collection that documents all aspects of UNC history and culture, but because our stacks, our staff, and our servers can only handle a limited amount of material, we have to be selective.
One of the goals of the UNC-Chapel Hill University Archives in recent years has been to do a better job documenting student life. A few years ago, the Archives began an effort to collect records of student organizations. Building on the success of that project, we looked for other ways to ensure that we were preserving the experience of being a student at Carolina. After tossing around many ideas, we realized that some of the most distinctive and creative symbols of student life were right in front of us every day: t-shirts.
Inspired by the Wearing Gay History project, we decided to build and host a digital collection of images of UNC t-shirts, past and present. T-shirts are often more than just articles of clothing. They can tell a story, document an event, or celebrate an achievement. With the UNC T-Shirt Archive we hope to include shirts showing all aspects of student life and culture. We will accept images of t-shirts from students, alumni, and anyone else with a connection to Carolina and a story to tell. We’re looking forward to hearing from all of you who have shirts you’d like to contribute and are excited about this new initiative to preserve and share Carolina history.