Historic Carnegie Hall mailboxes refurbished for display inside HSSC

Aug. 8, 2019 — Although the Grinnell College mailroom was relocated in 2006, the Carnegie Hall mailboxes – and the memories associated with them – still remain.

The onset of construction on the new Humanities and Social Sciences Center (HSSC) in 2017, which included Carnegie Hall renovations, sparked a discussion about what to do with the unused mailboxes. Knowing that these historic mailboxes served generations of Grinnellians, the decision was made to develop a way to preserve their historical character while supporting the cultural sustainability of the College.

Carnegie Hall Mailboxes re-purposed as a way to thank College donors.

“These mailboxes are not only beautiful representations of a former time, but a meaningful portrayal of Grinnell’s history,” says Jayn Chaney ’05, Grinnell College director of donor and alumni relations. “This history is important because it connects us to times, places, and events that were significant milestones in our collective past. We knew that we didn’t want to lose them.”

The mailboxes recently were re-purposed as a way to thank College donors who have invested $50,000 or more in the HSSC. These donors were honored with a personalized mailbox commemorating their gift. The mailboxes can be opened up to find a photo of the donors (or of the individual the donor is honoring) and information about them and why they give to Grinnell. Donors further tailored the mailboxes by adding descriptions of their family legacy, influential faculty member mentors, and other personalized tributes.

“Using the mailboxes to recognize our generous donors is a special way to honor the past and to celebrate both the present and the future,” Chaney says.

The Class of 1993 HSSC Mailbox Recognition.

The mailboxes are located in an alcove adjacent to the HSSC atrium. Additional mailboxes that are empty for now were installed to be used for donors who make future gifts to the HSSC.

“This project is allowing stories of donors to be told while helping ensure that students – now and in the future – have the opportunity to become intellectually engaged in this first-rate, technology-rich facility,” says Adam Laug, Grinnell College director of development. “Although postal mail may not play as big a role in our current students’ lives, this beautiful display is a wonderful tie-in with yesteryear.”

—by Laurel Knox

For your information:

HSSC interior and exterior investment opportunities are available at various gift levels. For more information, contact Susan Kriegel, development assistant, at 866-850-1846 or kriegels@grinnell.edu.

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