Historical Photograph Meme Contest




For Utah State University’s Historical Photograph Meme Contest, students use digitized historical images from USU’s Special Collections & Archives, along with those big, white block letters often associated with internet memes, to humorously bridge the gap between past and current experience. While none have reached true meme status (yet!), which, according to Patrick Davison in The Social Media Reader, would require them to “gain influence through online transmission,” it offers students a lighthearted way to familiarize themselves with the valuable digitized archival resources that are only a mouse click or finger tap away.

This online exhibit gives you the opportunity to browse each year’s finalists, as chosen by USU librarians. The finalists were uploaded to the library’s Facebook page where they were put to a vote, and the most “liked” entry won. As you look through these entries, you’ll notice that they often reflect the kinds of issues that are important to USU’s students, like class registration, dating, finals, housing, and Main Street traffic. Limor Shifman, author of Memes in Digital Culture, explained that memes “shape and reflect general social mindsets,” and past student entries often do just that within the context of shared experiences at USU.