Crystal Bridges’ February Programming
Three Exhibitions, a Panel Discussion, Film, Concert and Valentine’s Day Celebration
January 21, 2014
Barred Owl
Observing the Hidden Gems of Winter
January 23, 2014
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Archival Storage and Artist Manuscripts

Hollinger boxes

By Catherine Petersen and Elizabeth Bradshaw


Archival Hollinger boxes

Archival Hollinger boxes

Items in Crystal Bridges’ archives are carefully stored in order to preserve their longevity.  The archival materials used adhere to strict rules in order to maintain a  pH-balanced environment.   Many paper-based storage supplies are not only acid-free, but have had the lignin removed.  (Lignin is a natural bonding substance found in plants that helps add strength to the plant structure.  While not acidic itself, lignin can give off acid as it breaks down over time.)

Mylar sleeves used to house and protect documents.

Mylar sleeves used to house and protect documents.

Mylar and Melinex are forms of polyester film used to protect materials from the damaging effects of UV rays and foreign pollutants.

Several manuscripts in Crystal Bridges’ archives contain sketches.  A couple of examples:

A letter from Samuel F. B. Morse (1791-1872) to the artist Thomas Sully responding to a request from Charles Bird King passed on to him by Sully for “information respecting the interior of the House of Representatives” with two pages of sketches in ink and pencil including a plan “on an accurate scale of 1/8 of an inch to a foot” and details of pillars, curtains etc. 

Sketch by Samuel Morse detailing the US House of Representatives.

Sketch by Samuel Morse detailing the interior of the US House of Representatives.

The collection also houses photographs, such as this one from the files of Mount Rushmore sculptor, Gutzon Borglum: a photograph of the sculpting of Mt. Rushmore.

Sculptors at work on Mount Rushmore

Sculptors at work on Mount Rushmore

You may view the finding aids for the Crystal Bridges collection of artists’ letters and manuscripts online.  To view archival materials in the library please contact [email protected] for an appointment.

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