Special Collections & Archives: Heritage and University Archives

Florida State University Heritage & University Archives acquires, preserves and provides access to materials related to the institutional history and cultural heritage of FSU and its predecessor institutions. Areas of collecting interest include student life & culture, university records, and faculty papers.

More information about the history of Florida State University and its predecessor institutions can be found in the Florida State Heritage & University Archives Research Guide.

More information about popular collections relating to university history can be found on the Collections page.

Heritage and University Archives Spaces

Back to top

Read more about the History of the Norwood Reading Room and the FSU Heritage Museum to find out how these spaces are connected to the history of FSU.

Interior view of the Norwood reading room, with patrons reading at two large round tables

Mary Lou Norwood Reading Room

The Dr. Mary Lou Norwood Reading Room is a space dedicated to the founder of the Heritage Protocol Program, now part of the Heritage & University Archives. The Norwood Reading Room is located on the second floor of Strozier Library.

Dodd Hall

FSU Heritage Museum

To make a donation to the Heritage Fund or request information about the Werkmeister Commemorative Windows, please contact Jenni McKnight at (850) 645-7828. To schedule an event at the Heritage Museum, please contact Max Dou in University Relations at (850) 644-7417.

University Records

Back to top

Special Collections & Archives collects physical and digital records that are prepared, owned, used, or in the possession of administrators, faculty acting in administrative capacities, and staff of university units in the performance of an official function that have enduring historical or administrative value.

Materials of historical interest may include:

  • Administrative Files
  • Financial Documents
  • Reports
  • Statistics
  • Strategic Plans
  • Self-Studies

  • Mission Statements
  • Brochures
  • Newsletters
  • Publications
  • Photographs
  • Multimedia Materials

Records may be in any format and are appraised for their content and historical value. The frequency of use and availability of space will help determine if records should be retained in the originating office or transferred to the University Archives. When an administrative office or department defines inactive records of historical value, or needs further information the department should contact Special Collections (lib-specialcollections@fsu.edu) for assistance.

Archives & Records Management at FSU

The University Records Management Liaison Officer (RMLO) advises on and makes official determinations on the retention and disposition of public records not selected by the University Archivist. These units work together to properly manage the records of the university.

Records not selected by the archivist must be disposed of properly via the RMLO per FSU policies and the Statutes of the State of Florida.

Retiring or Leaving FSU

Those preparing to leave FSU, or those wishing to donate on behalf of deceased faculty or staff should contact lib-specialcollections@fsu.edu about their files, papers, and books. These items will be assessed; university records will go to the archives, selected faculty papers to our manuscripts archivist. Books will be assessed separately.

When processed by Heritage & University Archives, university records will be stored in secured stacks and made available to the university and wider community.

4-OP-F-4 Florida State University Archives Policy

Inactive records of enduring historical value will be selected for transfer to the University Archives in consultation with the originating campus unit and the archivist through a process of archival appraisal. The archivist will provide guidance on selecting records for inclusion in the University Archives. Once it is determined that the records will go to the University Archives, guidelines for the transfer of records will be provided to the office.  A Records Disposition form must be completed for the archives to receive records. 


A black and white photo showing a marching band performing outside


Back to top

Heritage & University Archives engages in the creation of physical and digital exhibits on a regular basis. We maintain and update both the permanent and rotating exhibits in the Heritage Museum at Dodd Hall and the The Norwood Reading Room in Strozier Library. We also collaborate with campus partners to exhibit archives material across campus and online.


Collaborative Exhibits

History of the Norwood Reading Room

Mary Lou Norwood (1925-2007)

Back to top


A graduation pic of Mary Lou Norwood in black and white

Norwood's personal history with the Florida State College for Women (FSCW) dates back to when she was a child. Born in Tallahassee on July 9, 1925, she grew up within a block of the FSCW campus, where she often played. She attended kindergarten, grammar, and middle school at the FSCW Demonstration School and high school at the FSCW Florida High School. She went on to attend FSCW, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and minored in technical theater. She graduated in the transitional class of 1947 when FSCW became the coeducational Florida State University.

For decades, Norwood was consistently involved with numerous FSU projects and activities and dedicated her time, energy and vast institutional knowledge to FSU. She was the co-founder and co-chair of the executive committee for the Heritage Protocol, a university-wide effort to locate, record, and preserve historic items and promote knowledge about the heritage of FSU. That program is now Heritage & University Archives. Norwood's work with the FSCW and FSU synchronized swimming team, The Tarpon Club, includes being its lighting director for its home show from 1958 to 1992 and making two films about the club, "A Dip in Dixie" and "Tarpon Traditions."

A portrait of Mary Lou Norwood

Norwood was the Class of 1947 chairwoman for planning, fundraising and dedication of the Heritage Tower, built in 1998, as well as the Class of 1947 chairwoman for editing and publishing history and is credited with being a driving force in the production of the book "Femina Perfecta" by Robin Sellers. In addition, Norwood was the writer and compiler of the book, "A Century of Women's Sports 1905-2005," published by the Seminole Boosters, and is currently working as co-writer and co-editor of a publication about the history of the former President's House at FSU, as recounted by the First Ladies of FSU who lived there.

The university conferred upon Mary Lou Norwood an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at a ceremony held in conjunction with the 60th anniversary of her graduating class of 1947.

Biography excerpted from an article by Bayard Stern, FSU News, 2007

Exterior of Dodd hall in black and white. The front door is covered by a large arch, students walk by outside

History of the FSU Heritage Museum


Located in the Werkmeister Reading Room in Dodd Hall, the Heritage Museum displays photographs, ephemera, and artifacts that document the history of FSU. Students, alumni, and the general public are encouraged to visit this beautiful space and learn more about the history of Florida State University.

Dodd Hall was built in 1923 and served as the library for the Florida State College for Women, and then for FSU until Strozier Library was built in 1956. It was named for William George Dodd, who joined the FSCW faculty in 1910. After the library moved into Strozier, WFSU housed its studio there. In 1985, the Claude and Mildred Pepper Library opened in Dodd Hall and remained there until the library moved to the newly built Pepper Center in 1998.

Photo on left: Dodd Hall and students, Florida State University Mounted Photographs, undated.

Interior of Dodd hall in black and white. Rows of long tables line either side of cabinets that appear to be card catalogs

Renovations began to improve the former library space in 1991. Named for Professor William H. & Dr. Lucyle T. Werkmeister, the Werkmeister Humanities Reading Room opened as a quiet space for students to study. In 1997, the Werkmeister Window, the crown jewel of an already-gorgeous space, was installed. The stained glass window was designed by Professor Emeritus Ivan Johnson and crafted by Bob and Jo Ann Bischoff. The window took over 10 years to build and contains over 10,000 individual pieces. The FSU Master Craftsman Studio continues to create and install leaded glass Commemorative Windows in the Werkmeister Reading Room.

Photo on right: Students Reading in the Library, Heritage Protocol Photograph Collection, undated.

Back to top