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Remnant Trust, Inc. brings rare book exhibit to Ball State University, Indiana

Ball State University President Geoffrey Mearns looks through Blackstones Magna Carta with Remnant Trust founder Brian Bex.

There is a Rare Book exhibit currently on display at the Bertha C. Ball Center at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. What is great about this exhibit is that students and the general public are able to touch and hold the books. There are over 1,300 rare first-edition documents in the exhibit, that are displayed on shelves and under glass tables for easy access and even a Latin version of the Bible from the 13th century.

This extraordinary collection of rare books and documents from the Remnant Trust, Inc., is on display at the E. B. and Bertha C. Ball Center throughout the spring semester.

The trust was founded by Brian Bex in Hagerstown, Indiana, and it is currently housed at Texas Tech University. It is a public educational foundation that makes their collection of more than 1,300 original and first-edition documents available to colleges, universities, and other organizations. The collection includes both printed and handwritten works and encompasses genres such as politics, economics, mathematics, science, history, philosophy and religion. The center plans to host a different themed exhibit each fall and spring.

Below is an article which was written by JILLIANNE DAVIS in The Daily about this exhibit.

The exhibit is currently open to the public Monday and Wednesday, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the E.B. and Bertha C. Ball Center.


This 13th century Bible sits under glass while it waits for someone to pick it up and read it. (Photo: Stephanie Wiechmann)

With some of its pages yellowed and cracking, the Vulgate — a Latin version of the Bible from the 13th century — sits in The Remnant Trust Book Exhibit.

“Holding a Bible that is thousands of years old gives me chills just thinking about it,” said Diane Watters, assistant director in the E. B. and Bertha C. Ball Center.

All 1,300 of the rare first-edition documents in the exhibit are displayed on shelves and under glass tables for easy access.

“What I like about our exhibit is that we allow the public to touch and hold the books,” Watters said. “It gives them a different experience when they are allowed to actually feel the paper.”

In 1997, Brian Bex started The Remnant Trust, a public educational foundation, in Hagerstown, Indiana.

Brian Rex reading a rare book in a collection he started in 1997
Brian Rex reading a rare book in a collection he started in 1997

“We take those entities,” says Remnant Trust founder Brian Bex, “that have been locked up in vaults, hidden in private collections, available, literally, only to the super rich and the privileged few, and we think we should share them with people.  Great ideas belong to everybody.”

He had a personal interest in collecting rare books related to American history and wanted them to be available for students at colleges and universities through the foundation.

Now, Bex helps move the exhibit from university to university for set time periods because he believes “great ideas belong to everybody.”

E.B and Bertha C. Ball Center

The exhibit is currently on display at the Bertha C. Ball Center, and students are able to reserve time slots for tours, which are given by Watters. Both printed and handwritten works about politics, economics, mathematics, science, history, philosophy and religion are all on display.

Each guest gets one-on-one attention from Watters because she said it allows them to ask questions and get the information they’re looking for.


“We are not an open library, so we can’t say ‘Just come in.’  But call and set up a time to view it and touch it.  You know, if you finished studying at a university, that is just – you’ve just barely tipped your toe into all that is possible to know.  We hope we’ll get a lot of people.”

The exhibit is open to the public this Monday and Wednesday, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the E.B. and Bertha C. Ball Center. 

 

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