Flyers: Common Communication or Museum Artifact?

Paper communication is disappearing. At least, that’s the goal for both companies and universities attempting to “go green,” and the University of Maryland is no exception. WMUC Flyers

Events, parties, and activities are announced on social media, while employment opportunities and announcements are sent via email. Some departments even offer entire courses online. The benefits to the environment are undeniable, yet the creative endeavor of designing colorful flyers is becoming a long-lost art. Of course bulletin boards still feature a variety of paper advertisements and event notices, but the competition for creating the brightest, most eye-catching flyer is decidedly less cut-throat these days.

The campus’ radio station, WMUC, has been a major part of this culture for the past few decades, as DJs and station staff have regularly promoted their programs by making flyers that are clever, interesting, and informative. Though flyers are meant to be ephemeral, University Archives has preserved quite a few in the WMUC Collection. This enables students, radio enthusiasts, and even scholars to examine these snapshots of college radio history and learn about its unique, Do-It-Yourself aesthetic within popular culture. From the abstract imagery to the clever sloganeering, WMUC flyers offer a chance to both learn and reminisce about a not-so-distant past.

An homage to WMUC’s flyer culture is just one of the features in the new exhibit “Saving College Radio: WMUC Past, Present and Future” which is now on display in the Maryland Room Gallery at Hornbake Library. Admission is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm, Wednesdays from 10am-8pm, and Sundays from 1pm-6pm.

WMUC Flyer

For more WMUC and college radio history, visit www.lib.umd.edu/wmuc and follow @WMUCexhibit on Twitter!

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