Alumnus and NASA astronaut Alan Bean recently passed away, but a piece of his legacy as a lunar visitor resides in the new McKinney Engineering Library.
A small flag that Bean carried with him on a trip to the moon hangs in the library today.
Bean donated the flag-that-went-to-the-moon that is framed and on display at the Engineering Library, with his signature and a small plaque noting Bean’s affiliation with the university. He received his B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering in 1955 and was named as a Distinguished Graduate of the College of Engineering in 1970.
Born in the Panhandle town of Wheeler (pop. 1,592) in 1933, Bean graduated from high school in Fort Worth and attended The University of Texas at Austin where he was in the Naval ROTC. He became a fighter pilot in the Navy, and later attended the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School where he was instructed by his future Apollo 12 commander Pete Conrad. Conrad personally selected Bean for the Apollo 12 mission to replace astronaut Clifton Williams, who was killed in an air crash.
Bean was the lunar module pilot for the Apollo 12 mission in November, 1969, which had some anxious moments shortly after launch when an electrical surge caused by a lightning strike created a telemetry problem for the vehicle. Bean was responsible for executing the command that circumvented the problem and prevented the mission from being aborted. Bean and the crew landed on the moon on November 19, and returned safely to Earth on November 24.
Emeritus Engineering Librarian Susan Ardis noticed at one point that that the original signature was faded, and colleagues in the College of Engineering (now Cockrell School of Engineering) contacted Bean, on Susan’s behalf, about a replacement. He graciously sent his signature in a few different sizes so that the best one — the best match for the artistic design of the framing — could be selected.
The flag remained with Engineering Library staff during the construction of the new Engineering Education and Research Center, and now hangs in the new Engineering Library.
Welcome back! I hope the spring semester will be productive and successful for you.
While you were away we have worked quickly to launch UT Libraries’ new website. Check it out at https://www.lib.utexas.edu/ It is our hope that you will find the new website easy to navigate and to learn more about UTL’s News and Featured events. There is a helpful 404 error page in place to redirect users who might be trying to reach legacy content. All of the content on the legacy site will remain intact for the foreseeable future as we continue to migrate to the new site. Please use the new feature on the site to send us your feedback.
We are also excited to announce the opening of the McKinney Engineering Library in the brand new Engineering Education and Research Center on January 16. The engineering library exemplifies our continuing efforts to rethink what libraries need offer to meet user expectations in a digital environment. We have moved a highly curated collection from the engineering collection on PCL’s 6th floor to the new library. Beyond books you will find enhanced space and technology — 3000 square feet of new space, including consultation and seminar rooms, 24 new workstations and power outlets aplenty, as well as new printers, scanners and self-checkout.
We also made a change at the end of the fall semester that may have gone unnoticed, but will be of great interest for our undergraduate patrons. Beginning December 1, the Libraries extended loan duration for materials from 28 days to a semester-long period, allowing students greater time to focus on learning and less on managing access to resources.
Our core mission is to support the university’s core mission of research and teaching and to help our students to be successful graduates. We are here to serve you please let us know how we can help you!
To learn more about this fascinating field, use the Libraries’ scOUT tool to search for books and Academic Search Complete for new articles, as well as any of our specialized databases on how fashion and textile design is changing.
One of our favorite recent articles concerned developing a way to mimic the camouflage abilities of squid skin in fabric. So think of this the next time you eat calamari—there is more than good taste to this animal.
Below are some examples from our collections that show how this new area will impact all of our lives and demonstrate how the Libraries are keeping abreast of the brave new world of textiles.