Special Collections and Archives blog

Saying Goodbye to the “Fred Harvey: Branding the Southwest” Exhibit

This time last year, we were sweating the details on completing and putting into place what would turn out to be one of the most influential exhibits ever. “Fred Harvey: Branding the Southwest”  was built out of Cline Library, Special Collections and Archives most used collection and so it was well due the honor of being the focus of an exhibit. Our Elizabeth and P.T. Reilly intern, Ofelia Zepeda (University of Arizona, SIRLS, Knowledge River cohort member) did a magnificent job of teasing out the often complex storylines of the Fred Harvey Company’s history into very digestible parts for display in our modest exhibit space and then expanding that content for the web version of the exhibit.

Along the way across the past year we place satellite versions of the exhibit in the Flagstaff Public Library, the Flagstaff Visitors’ Center, The 1899 restaurant on campus, and in our own Scholars’ Corner Coffee shop. We did three First Friday Art Walks to celebrate the closing of the previous exhibit done around the images of Flagstaff photographer John Running, and to hint towards the Fred Harvey exhibit; the opening of the Fred Harvey Exhibit and then the celebration of the release of the Fred Harvey inspired Seven Stages beer from Mother Road Brewery. We held two exhibit openings, one for donors and one public event that also featured a great panel discussion comprised of Allen Naille, Allan Affeldt, Stephan Fried (author of Appetite for America), and Dr. Wanda Costen of NAU’s School of Hotel and Restaurant Management. We hosted a showing of Katrina Parks’ 2013 film Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound. We hosted a variety of groups who came to tour the exhibits, plus hosted a number of NAU classes who used the exhibit as part of their class activities. We even discovered that there were what we might term Fred Harvey groupies called “Fred Heads”!

Yes, this exhibit was a lot of work for lots of people, but well worth it in the end, and it was lots of fun.

The best part of the whole process however are the great partners we worked with across this past year. They include: The Flagstaff Arts Council, Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau/Flagstaff Visitors Center, Flagstaff Public Library, Grand Canyon National Parks Lodges, the Harvey Girls of Winslow, La Posada Hotel, Old Trails Museum, Mother Road Brewery, the NAU School of Hotel and Restaurant Management, and the 1899 Bar and Grill. We also received support (of many types) and encouragement from a whole host of people way too numerous to mention here (but you can see them here).


The exhibit will come down, quietly,  Tuesday, September 6th (early before we open…) to make way for some touch-ups before the next exhibit is put in place. Watch this space!


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