NACOGDOCHES, Texas — A pair of Stephen F. Austin State University public history graduate students have joined with NIBCO, a 111-year-old valve, fittings and flow control products company with 10 manufacturing plants throughout the U.S., Mexico and Poland, to research, design and create an exhibit to celebrate the 75th anniversary of NIBCO’s Nacogdoches plant.
Graduate students Laura Turner and Amanda Saylor, both from Nacogdoches, built the exhibit in the plant with help from Sheri Howard, NIBCO’s Nacogdoches plant manager. Howard reached out to Carolyn Spears, Stone Fort museum curator, and Dr. Perky Beisel, SFA associate professor of history, and asked for their assistance in creating an exhibit to highlight NIBCO’s accomplishments during the past 75 years.
As the project developed, Beisel knew it would be an ideal learning opportunity for Turner and Saylor, who began work on the exhibit this fall. During a three-month period, the students drafted designs for the exhibit, handled communications and logistics, and planned how the exhibit would “flow” for attendees.
“This project is service-learning at its best,” Beisel said. “I’m thrilled that Laura and Amanda had this opportunity to work alongside an established company like NIBCO and learn how to create an exhibit that pays tribute to the milestones its employees have accomplished while celebrating the longevity of NIBCO’s longest-operating manufacturing facility in the NIBCO family.”
Turner and Saylor scanned through hundreds of NIBCO photos and historical documents from the past 75 years. The exhibit includes photographs, samples, publications, memorabilia and other items related to the people, products and places associated with NIBCO Nacogdoches.
“It was a great opportunity to work with NIBCO and the community in designing and building the exhibit for them,” Saylor said. “The project involved all of us from start to finish, and Sheri and the other NIBCO employees helped us tremendously.”
Howard said she was thoroughly impressed with the work Turner and Saylor accomplished. “Laura and Amanda learned more about the valve industry than they ever wanted to as they carefully sorted through our collection and picked things that would paint the best picture of life at NIBCO,” Howard said.
The exhibit is free and open to the public.