DURHAM, N.C. — This year, Duke University is celebrating its centennial year.


What You Need To Know

Duke University is celebrating 100 years in 2024

An exhibit honoring the centennial will display about 100 total items over the next year at Perkins Library

Four student curators were chosen to work on the exhibit


A small group of students spent some of their summer digging through the university’s archives to find artifacts that best represent Duke’s history and put them on display for a new exhibit in the library.

“Hi! What do you think?” asked Caroline Edmondson.

Duke sophomore Caroline Edmondson is seeking feedback after spending countless hours working on the exhibit.

“This centennial is meant to celebrate 100 years of our identity as Duke, the enormous leaps and bounds our institution has made over those years,” said Edmondson.

Edmondson says it was her honor to be chosen as one of four student curators tasked with putting together Duke’s rich 100-year history into an exhibit.

On this night, the exhibit celebrates its grand opening inside the university’s Perkins Library.

Edmondson talks to visitors and answers any questions.

“Yeah, so I mostly focused on the women’s college and women’s experience at Duke,” said Edmondson.

The school was officially named Duke in 1924.

But before then, in 1838, it was just a one-room institution called Brown’s Schoolhouse.

“So in 1938, Duke celebrated its first centennial as an academic institution, and it also included a library exhibit, so we really loved that story cause it’s so similar to what we went through. So, we found this image of this random Duke student looking at that exhibit and all fell in love with it cause it’s so present to what’s happening now,” said Edmondson.

And what would a Duke celebration be without a special nod to that rival in Chapel Hill.

“We think it’s a nice classy nod to our neighbors down the road,” said Edmondson.

A banner reading “Go to Hell Carolina” was hung over Wallace Wade Stadium in 1979 in response to Duke’s basketball loss to UNC in the ACC Championship.

“The archives actually have this banner. This is a recreation, and it’s enormous,” said Edmondson.

From desegregation to countless Duke basketball titles, the exhibit has a bit of everything.

Edmondson says the point is to celebrate Duke while also honoring its true history.

“There are a lot of dark parts about Duke’s history and there are a lot of things that are imperfect about the university now. It was tricky finding a balance between telling those honest dark stories and honoring the centennial as a celebration. We wanted people to feel excited about Duke,” said Edmondson.

The first 50 items in the exhibit will be on display until June. Edmondson says those will be switched with a new batch of 50 relevant items from July to December.

The exhibit is open and free to the public during library hours.