You are hereChuck and Kim Watson Museum of Sigma Chi and Fraternity Archives

Chuck and Kim Watson Museum of Sigma Chi and Fraternity Archives


Introduction

The Sigma Chi Museum and Archives exists to preserve and interpret the rich history of the issues and individuals that have shaped Sigma Chi’s mission of fostering high standards of morality and character among the young men that pledge to the fraternity.

The Museum

The Museum maintains a collection of three-dimensional artifacts contributed by members or created by the Sigma Chi Staff since its founding in 1855. These include many versions of the Sigma Chi badge: the jeweled-encrusted badge designed by the father of Sigma Chi in Canada, Ralph Connable, Albion 1890; the badge worn by Grover Cleveland when he was sworn in a the 24th president of the United States; and the badge worn by John W. Young, Georgia Tech 1952. This is probably the only Sigma Chi badge ever to go off-world when it was worn by Young on his Apollo 16 flight to the moon in 1972.

The museum also holds some Sports memorabilia. There is a football signed by Chicago Bears Coach, Mike Ditka, Pittsburg 1961; a uniform worn by Bill Werber, Duke 1930 in the 1940 World Series; and a jersey autographed by Los Angles Ram’s Football player and television star, Merlin Olsen, Utah State 1962.

Finally, the museum also contains a collection of military artifacts including a scale model of the YB-49 Flying Wing aircraft flown by Significant Sig, Brigadier General Robert L. Cardenas, USAF (Ret), New Mexico 1955, and a collection of weapons and uniforms gathered and used by the founders of Sigma Chi including Benjamin Piatt Runkle’s Civil War uniform, a set of English Flintlock Dueling Pistols, and a 16th century Blunderbuss.

The Archives

Although the museum holds a wonderful collection of three-dimensional artifacts, the incredibly rich history of the fraternity can truly be found among the documentary artifacts that are stored in the archives of Sigma Chi. These include thousands of items that tell the history of the fraternity through the activities of the Founders, the members, and the growing list of active chapters.

In the archives you will find a collection of portraits of the Founders, many of the Grand Consuls, and other Sigma Chis. There are documents that show the struggles of the fraternity to deal with the winds of change that swept the nation throughout its history. In the photo collection are thousands of photographs showing the changing face of the fraternity and as you may expect, the archives maintains files on the accomplishments of its membership. These files include high profile members, such as actors, Congressmen and Senators, sports figures, and astronauts, but also the members that excel in the professions that are the foundation of our society. There are businessmen, members of the military, scholars, butchers, bakers, president Reagan’s candy maker…well, you get the picture…in the archives, there are no insignificant Sigs.

Under the directions of the current Grand Historian, Dr. Michael Codina, past Grand Historians William P. Fleming, Eric Hansen and Douglas Carlson, and the members of the Archives Committee, there is now an effort under way to catalogue the extraordinary historical collection of the fraternity—a collection that may ultimately prove to contain hundreds of thousands of documents and photographs. Ultimately, this catalogue will provide the members of the fraternity with information regarding the artifacts under the archives’ care.

Although the archives of Sigma Chi exists to support the fraternity’s mission by providing a historical context for its activities, the archives welcomes research inquiries. For more information, please contact the fraternity at 847-425-4420 or send your request to noah.phelps@sigmachi.org.