HUNTINGTON — Despite the great loss that Huntington faced after the Nov. 14, 1970, plane crash, one Marshall University student has developed an outlet to help keep history alive.
Kyle Powers, student body vice president at Marshall and Wayne County native, said he created an interactive display in the Memorial Student Center so those who lost loved ones in the crash know the victims have not been forgotten.
“I want any and all visiting members of the families to know their loved one’s story isn’t done being told,” Powers said. “The 75 will forever be a part of this university, and through this touchscreen, I hope that story never leaves.”
The display showcases the Marshall football team and staff members, and those interested can use the touchscreen to select individuals and see personal and athletic information.
Powers said the idea came from noticing the former display in the student center and thinking that the people were being remembered as a group, but not being seen individually.
“In the old student center there was a picture of the team. I would walk past and think, ‘Is this all we have for them?’” Powers said. “While we memorialize the 75 as a whole, the main idea behind the touchscreen was to provide the community with names and faces for each of the 75 instead of them all as a whole.”
Powers said the project included help from multiple departments, ranging from IT to Special Collections.
One of the helpers for the project was head of the Special Collections Department, Lori Thompson, who said she views the department as Marshall’s “junk drawer” that gets to collect and organize information to make available for anyone interested.
“Special Collections started in the ’70s as a way to not only archive the university’s materials, but also materials from the region,” Thompson said. “We are the place that materials go to live for history. So, it is our job to organize them, make them available to search in and preserve them for future generations of researchers or community members who want to know more about the region.”
Thompson said before the interactive display, former director of Special Collections Department Lisle Brown had created a website to display information regarding the players and staff members who died. Though it “did the job” at the time, Thompson said technology now has provided more opportunities for research and history.
“The perk of have a digital display is that it’s not static,” she said. “They can add new features and information whenever they want to. And over time, when we find new research and information, we can add to it, which is cool.”
Powers said there are no new additions to the display yet, but there are some in the works.