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Museum Exhibit Showcases College’s Early Years

Submitted by on August 10, 2017 – 3:49 pm

NECC Librarians Rachel Oleaga (left) and Laura Mondt (right) curated the exhibit that celebrates Northern Essex’s early years. It will be displayed at the Buttonwoods Museum beginning September 2.

An exhibit celebrating the founding of Northern Essex Community College nearly 56 years ago, will be displayed at the Buttonwoods Museum in Haverhill from Saturday, September 2, through Friday, September 29.

The exhibit was curated by Northern Essex librarians Laura Mondt and Rachel Oleaga. An opening reception will be held Tuesday, September 5, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Buttonwoods Museum.

“This is an opportunity for the college to celebrate its history with the community and to promote the wonderful resources of the Bentley Library’s archives,” said Mike Hearn, director of NECC’s library services.

Buttonwoods, which is home to the Haverhill Historical Society, is located at 240 Water St. in Haverhill. The multimedia exhibit, titled “Northern Essex Community College: The Early Years in Haverhill” documents the founding of the college, its placement in Haverhill, and how it became a fixture in the Merrimack Valley during its first 25 years.

NECC students from the early days of the college.

The exhibit, which will be displayed in different rooms of the historic house, will run concurrent to the publication of “A History of Northern Essex Community College, 1969-1985,” written by the late Dr. John Spurk, a former faculty member for whom the recently renovated Spurk Building is named, and edited by Dr. Robert Eddy, an NECC alumnus and former student of Spurk’s.

Three rooms of the museum will hold themed sections of the exhibit. The main hallway will feature “A Day in the Life of an Early NECC Student.” This will include yearbooks, photos, copies of student publications, student life documents, an old NECC sign from route 110, and commencement programs/invitations. Portraits of NECC founders will hang in the upper staircase landing, and an upstairs room will focus on the Massachusetts Community College Movement & History of NECC featuring the original accreditation report, the architectural panels of the Haverhill campus, photographs, and a chronology of the campus history.

For additional information regarding the exhibit, contact Oleaga at