By SARAH MARTIN, Guest Writer
For those who have visited the Natural Sciences Building, the display cases on the first and second floors contain things one would expect in a science building. Models of atoms, or perfectly color coordinated beakers.
In the basement, it’s a much different story.
You can see Queen Elizabeth III’s Golden Crown, the Rosetta Stone, and even Pablo Picasso’s most famous work.
None of the artifacts are real, of course. The collection began in December 2016 by Nate Lenze, a computer engineering student.
“I was studying for pre-finals in the basement, which is the go to spot because it’s quiet and comfortable down there.” Lenze said. “I saw the empty showcases, and I felt they were being left out of the coolness of the upstairs ones that got projects and stuff.”
The display cases were left unlocked. Lenze placed a Bic pen inside and tore out a piece of notebook paper and wrote “First Pen Used to Sign the Declaration of Independence.”
“I put the crown in next, and someone else put the Holy Grail in there.” Lenze said the person had printed out a more official looking description. “I loved the idea they had—we had to make this official so we color printed placards for all of the artifacts in there.”
Then came the Rosetta Stone, the first phone, and soon enough others began chipping in.
“That was the funniest part because no one knew who each other was.” Lenze said. “I ended up meeting the guy who put the cell phone in there in one of my classes. He thought of the Ohio State diploma and I found the stuff.”
One of Lenze’s friends added King Tut’s remains, a pack of beef jerky.
Lenze and his friend began calling themselves “The University of Michigan-Dearborn Historical Society.” They designed and printed a 3-D orange placard located at the bottom of the case to announce the new title.
“We have a strict policy though,” Lenze said, “Junk, not trash. We don’t put trash in there because we want to keep campus beautiful.”
To kick off the unofficial showcase, Lenze created a screensaver for the television between the two cases. A USB was plugged into one of the ports and proudly displayed “UMD Historical Society Presents: The Historical Showcase.”
Lenze says someone removed the USB and the display cases are now locked, but the artifacts remain. “I’m planning on contacting them for the key back—the legacy must live on!”