The Sigma Chi Museum

Under the auspices of the Sigma Chi International Fraternity, and overseen by the Sigma Chi Foundation's Historical Initiative, the museum and archives at J. Dwight Peterson International Headquarters 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 the Fraternity.
 

The Chuck and Kim Watson Museum of Sigma Chi

Dedicated during the 2016 Grand Council, and the result of nearly two years' work by the Foundation's Museum Renovation Committee, the Chuck and Kim Watson Museum of Sigma Chi maintains a collection of artifacts contributed by members or created by the Sigma Chi staff since its founding in 1855. These include many iterations of the Sigma Chi badge, including: the jeweled-encrusted badge designed by the father of Sigma Chi in Canada, Ralph Connable, ALBION 1890; the badge worn by US President Grover Cleveland, MICHIGAN 1915, at his inauguration ceremony; and the badge taken to the moon by Significant Sig and astronaut John Young, GEORGIA TECH 1952, who flew on the Apollo 16 mission in 1972. The museum also contains a collection of other artifacts, including items created by the Founders and a collection Civil War era military uniforms and weapons used by the brothers of Sigma Chi who fought in that conflict. 

The museum traces the history of the Fraternity from its founding in 1855 to the present day via a series of chronologically arranged panels and interactive multimedia displays. The exhibits cover topics including the Founding, the creation and influence of the Sweetheart of Sigma Chi song, and the role of Sigma Chis in exploring new frontiers. One of the most poignant displays is the museum's tribute to the brothers who gave "The Last Full Measure of Devotion" in service to their home countries. The Gold Star Honor Roll exhibit lists brothers from the U.S. and Canada who were killed in action during military conflicts from the U.S. Civil War through the current conflicts in the Middle East. Along with the list, each of these brothers are represented by a gold star emblazoned along the wall of the museum creating a spot where visitors can pause and reflect on the sacrifice of these nearly 1,000 brothers.

The Archives of the Sigma Chi Fraternity

Although the museum holds a wonderful collection Sigma Chi memorabilia, 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 seven Founders, the members and the growing list of undergraduate chapters.

In the archives are a collection of portraits of the seven Founders, many of the Grand Consuls and other prominent Sigma Chis. The photo collection includes thousands of pictures showing the changing face of the Fraternity throughout the decades, and as you may expect, the archives maintains files on the accomplishments of its members. These files include high-profile Sigs such as actors, congressmen, sports figures and astronauts, in addition to 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.

The Museum and Archives are guided by the Sigma Chi Foundation's museum consulting committee consisting of:

  • 22nd Grand Historian Michael Codina, M.D., CALIFORNIA-SAN DIEGO 1993;
  • 21st Grand Historian and Order of Constantine Sig Bill Fleming, Ph. D., SAM HOUSTON 1965;
  • 20th Grand Historian and Order of Constantine Sig Eric Hansen, CINCINNATI 1989;
  • 19th Grand Historian and 62nd Grand Consul Doug Carlson, MINNESOTA 1973; and
  • 63rd Grand Consul, Lee Beauchamp, TEXAS A&M-COLLEGE STATION 1975

These brothers also serve on the Fraternity's Historical Commission.

Staff of the Sigma Chi Foundation's Historical Initiative

  • Noah Phelps, NORTHWESTERN 2008, Director of Information Management
  • Anne Schepers, Assistant Archivist

The Historical Initiative is now undertaking an effort 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 archivists' care.

Although the archives of Sigma Chi exist primarily to support the Fraternity’s mission by providing a historical context for its activities, the archives department also welcomes researchers who wish to explore its collection. For more information, please contact the Fraternity at (847) 869-3655, ext. 220, or send your request to archivist@sigmachi.org.

Brothers wishing to support the Historical Initiative can make tax-deductible donations at foundation.sigmachi.org/donate.  For more information on the Historical Initiative, click here.