Lee and Joy Pennington Cultural Heritage GalleryPosted: June 4, 2013
by Delinda S. Buie
Delinda S. Buie is a Professor with the University of Louisville Archives and Special Collections. She is also the Curator of the Rare Books collection.
Poet, documentarian and educator Lee Pennington is widely traveled — at home nearly every place on the globe. Now he also will have a home in the University of Louisville Libraries with the dedication of the Lee and Joy Pennington Cultural Heritage Gallery on June 13. The Pennington Gallery will provide exhibition space and nearly 6000 linear feet of shelving to preserve artifacts and works on paper: manuscripts; archives; rare books; art. It is the first such space on campus, dreamed and planned by archivists and librarians for decades, and ultimately secured by the tenacity and vision of a number of people, most especially Associate Dean of Libraries Diane Nichols.
Lee Pennington’s involvement with the project began exactly two years ago, when friend of U of L Libraries’ Dick Wilson brought him to campus. Wilson had been one of Lee’s students at Jefferson Community College and – like just about everyone who has ever been in contact with Lee – became a lifelong friend. Lee’s personal passion for collecting, and his appreciation for how objects and documents can inform and inspire, made him a perfect collaborator for a space to preserve his own collections, which he is generously donating to the university, as well as treasures from the University Archives, Photographic Archives and Rare Books collections. When we needed a name for the new space, the names of Lee and his late wife and creative collaborator Joy came first to mind. Lee and Joy Pennington have devoted their lives to interdisciplinary discovery. The Lee and Joy Pennington Cultural Heritage Gallery will continue that legacy, inspiring – even provoking – discovery that leads to creativity and scholarship.