Archives, Artwork, and a Garden: The John Stokes and Mary’s Gardens Collection at the University of Dayton

  • Kayla Harris University of Dayton
Keywords: exhibit, archives, garden, artwork, interactive, Blessed Virgin Mary


The University of Dayton hosted a unique exhibit in the spring of 2017 highlighting the John Stokes and Mary’s Gardens archival collection. In addition to materials from the collection, the exhibit also featured a live garden with flowers named for the Blessed Virgin Mary inside the library, and specially commissioned artwork by artist Holly Schapker. The library was able to reach different audiences and hopes this will serve as an example in thinking of more interactive ways for visitors to experience an archival exhibit.


Kayla would like to thank and acknowledge the Stokes family for their generous donation and the multitude of people involved with the Mary’s Garden exhibit. Special thanks goes to Marketing and Outreach Librarian, Katy Kelly, who chaired the exhibit planning committee, and Director of the Marian Library, Sarah Cahalan.

Author Biography

Kayla Harris, University of Dayton

Kayla Harris is the Archivist for the Marian Library at the University of Dayton and is responsible for managing the library’s archival collections including manuscripts, visual resources, and ephemera. Her primary responsibilities include the arrangement and description of materials, reference services, and outreach, with the goal of making the Marian Library’s unique materials accessible. Prior to working at the University of Dayton, Kayla was a Records Manager for Clinton County, Ohio. Her interest in gardens however, originated with her internship with the Archives of American Gardens at the Smithsonian Institution.

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