A banner reads 'Welcome to Duke Hospitality Day' while people stand around chatting Duke University Centennial, 1938-1939, University Archives Photograph Collection.

When James Buchanan Duke signed the Duke Endowment on December 11th, 1924, providing $6 million and a new name for Trinity College, no one could have anticipated the world-renowned research powerhouse that Duke University would become. The students, faculty, and staff of Duke University led the University on an exceptional course that its founders could not have imagined. This exhibit is a collection of over 100 objects shown over two semesters, aiming to present a mosaic of moments from the past century of Duke. To encapsulate the full histories and perspectives of everyone Duke has impacted would be impossible. Rather, this exhibit aims to present a candid view of Duke’s complex, rich, and sometimes uncomfortable history, providing insight into how Duke became what it is today.

This exhibit was curated by a 2023 Story+ humanities research team including four undergraduates: Caroline Edmondson (T’ 26), Prisha Gupta (T’ 26), Zoe Tishaev (T’ 24), and Melody Tzang (T’ 25). The Project Manager was Jessica Orzulak, PhD, and the team included University Archivist Valerie Gillispie, Exhibition Services Head Meg Brown, and Centennial Archivist Ani Karagianis.