Museum and Research Collection
Center for Study of the Life and Work of
William Carey, D.D. (1761-1834)
Monday – Friday, 1-5 PM
Guided Tours by Request
History of the Carey Center
Dedication and Opening of Donnell Hall
May 3, 2006
Myron C. Noonkester, Co-Director
Center for Study of the Life and Work of William Carey, D.D. (1761-1834)
The Carey Center began as an idea. In the summer of 2000, Bennie Crockett and I decided that William Carey College had gone too long with the name of William Carey without doing something to lend scholarly credibility to that association. We concluded that Carey’s vision of Christian service—his holistic and comprehensive approach to human improvement—could serve as a source of identity for a large-scale scholarly project. We thought that associating ourselves directly with Carey would provide a niche in an academic marketplace and a source of identity for our faculty, staff, students and constituencies that we serve. Carey’s spiritual and intellectual interests were sufficiently broad and deep as to provide a model for all of our academic and scholarly endeavors.
From the beginning we decided to put the cart before the horse in this endeavor. We did not wait to develop an elaborate plan or to get extensive funding or to do a feasibility study. Instead we worked immediately to solicit contributions, acquire Carey-related items and to build a website. We were able to proceed because a number of donors and college administrators saw merit in what we were doing.
So it was that the idea for the Carey Center led to the formation of a collection. We began by buying postage stamps issued by the Indian government in 1993 to commemorate the two-hundredth anniversary of Carey’s journey to India. We then bought books, medals, coins, art, maps, and memorabilia. I will not soon forget our excitement when we obtained Flora Indica (1820, 1824), the Center’s first substantial purchase. Today our collection rivals the best collections in the world of William Carey and Serampore-related material.
Then the Center became a web site. Untutored though we were (and still are) in things technological, we launched our web site in early 2001. We have since had over half a million hits on our site and have received the 5-star, essential rating from the Asian Studies World Wide Web Monitor. We were able to achieve these unlooked-for results largely because we worked hard at what we were doing and because we were willing to post large swaths of material to the web.
Today the Center reaches a new stage in its development thanks to the generosity of Robert and Linda Donnell and the careful work of a number of artists and vendors. Now we have a museum with a first exhibit that will give you some idea of the remarkable beauty and interest of our collection.
So you see that what started as an idea has become a collection, a web site, and at last a museum and research collection occupying physical space. This dedication is a great day for all those involved with the Carey Center because it marks a new phase in our existence, another step in the realization of a good idea.
Carey Center Home Page
Created: May 19, 2006 Updated: June 8, 2006