Exhibit promotes a new on-campus football stadium

The display is designed to give students a feel for an on-campus stadium.

Tatum Fjerstad

Some of today’s University students might have a hard time envisioning what life would be like if they could watch a Gophers football game on campus.

The Curt and Arlene Carlson Heritage Gallery in the McNamara alumni center will unveil a new exhibit today about Memorial Stadium, the former on-campus football stadium built in the 1920s and demolished in 1992.

The display is designed to give students an idea of what an on-campus stadium feels like, as well as instill nostalgia in alumni and older generations, said Margaret Carlson, executive director of the Alumni Association.

“We wanted to make the stadium tangible for those who had never sat in the old stadium for a game, convocation or graduation,” Carlson said.

James Heinz, general manager of the McNamara alumni center, agreed with Carlson.

“We are kind of taking advantage of all the interest of an on-campus stadium,” he said.

He also said University students might not be aware the Heritage Gallery exists.

“It’s not that well known yet and we’re still trying to build an audience,” Heinz said.

The exhibit is split into three parts, and closes with a look towards the future of an on-campus stadium.

The first part of the exhibit documents the student fund raising and seven-day construction of Memorial Stadium in the 1920s. It includes blueprints, letters and construction photos.

The second part showcases the lifespan of the stadium, with an enlarged photo of students watching a football game and mannequins dressed in apparel of the past.

“People dressed up a lot more for football games, back then,” Heinz said.

The third part is a tribute to the stadium’s demolition in 1992.

“The stadium had outgrown its useful life,” Heinz said. “The stadium became less than desirable and it started to deteriorate. They had to eventually demolish it.”

With that, a 68-year tradition ended. There is, however, one exception.

The arch from Memorial Stadium was preserved and now frames the entrance to the Heritage Gallery. Visitors enter through the old ticket windows.

Carlson said she hopes the exhibit makes people passionate about a new on-campus stadium.

“When we envisioned the Heritage Gallery, we wanted it to be a place where people would remember the past and dream about the future,” she said. “And we have a big-time dream – to bring Gopher football back to campus.”