Archives Come Alive at TwelvEighty

Submitted by libbairdca on
Filed under Library News:  Mills Archives & Research Collections

The walls of the TwelvEighty restaurant and bar in Gilmour Hall were transformed this past spring with archival photographs from The William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections in Mills Memorial Library.


The McMaster Students Union (MSU) wanted TwelvEighty to reflect the McMaster spirit by linking current students with the history of the University. This was in response to feedback the MSU received from students, such as “It doesn’t feel like a student place with a McMaster collegiate feel.” 

Joe Finkle, 2010-2011 MSU Vice President (Education), made arrangements for the 2009-2010 MSU Board of Directors to visit Archives & Research Collections.  They looked at boxes of images from the McMaster University Archives dating back to the 1930s, as well as earlier issues of the Silhouette, intent on finding pictures to decorate the walls of TwelvEighty.

Images were scanned by Joe, who worked part-time in the Archives 2009-2010, as a student assistant. Scans were reproduced creating photographs which were framed and placed above the booths in the restaurant.  In addition, floor-to-ceiling panels showcase the scanned photos that stretch the length of the restaurant, dividing it from the dance floor when not in use.

Stepping into TwelvEighty now is like taking a journey through McMaster’s past. There is a portrait of Senator William McMaster (1811-1887), who the University is named after. There are sports photos of football games and cheer teams from old issues of the Silhouette, plus more recent images from special events such as Welcome Week and concerts held on campus.  As well, an article in the Silhouette from the early 70s highlights the achievements of now famous McMaster alumni Eugene Levy and Ivan Reitman.  

Joe Finkle reports, “There has been a positive reaction to the changes at TwelvEighty, and students report they like the look and feel of the place.”

by Bev Bayzat and Kim Kerr