Dream, Design, Build: The UW Architecture Student Drawing Collection, 1914-1947

Dream, Design, Build: The UW Architecture Student Drawing Collection, 1914-1947

Housing the Drawings

Protective Sleeves
Inserting a drawing into a protective sleeve.

Much consideration was given to the eventual storage of the drawings, since environment and handling are the two most significant effects on the longevity of archival materials. Collection space is also at a premium throughout the Libraries, so efficient use of space is essential.

For the student drawings, six standardized sizes of storage were used, ranging from 16" x 20" to 40" x 60". Storage sleeves or folders in each of those sizes house individual drawings. The two smallest sizes are grouped in boxes that will fit on shelving. The three middle sizes, which comprise the majority of the collection, fit in standard metal flat files. Spacer inserts made for these drawers keep each size of folder/sleeve in place. The 40" x 60" oversize drawings are in an oversized flat file drawers, separated by paper sheets.

The construction of the storage sleeves and folders was a huge component of the project. Drawings with "stable" pigments adhered to the paper are in sleeves with a clear polyester front for viewing, and an archival paper back for support. This type of sleeve allows for storage and handling of the drawing with no direct contact with the surface of the original. Drawings with "unstable" media, such as charcoal or graphite, should not be put under polyester because its static can remove the pigments. Drawings in this category have been placed in paper folders with a paper lip sewn at the foredge to hold the drawing in, or with small drawings held in place with polyester corners. All of the construction of the sleeves was done by hand.

Creating Access for the Collection

The culminating part of the collection processing project was creation of an online finding aid to list all the drawings in the collection. To make the finding aid, a processing technician established arrangement and wrote a description for every drawing in the collection. The finding aid is arranged alphabetically by the studentís last name. Each studentís drawings are further subdivided by year of study. When available, each student entry lists biographical information about their history in the school, and subsequent career. The finding aid also includes extensive information about the history of the Department of Architecture, a glossary, and bibliography.

Credits and Acknowledgements

The UW Architecture Student Drawing Project was made possible by a remarkable collaboration of efforts:

  • For project funding support: University of Washington School of Architecture, Friends of the Libraries, Libraries Excellence Fund, anonymous private donors.
  • For administrative support: Nicolette Bromberg, Paul Constantine, Carla Rickerson.
  • For lending inspiring dedication and expertise to the project: J.P. Brigham, Kelly Daviduke, Judith Johnson, Jeffrey Ochsner.
  • And thanks to all colleagues and the architecture community who encourage others to dream, design, build.

--Kate Leonard, exhibit curator.


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