WAM Files Phase II began this summer, an archival and interpretive project that will make archival records accessible. These curatorial, educational, and administrative records, office files and museum staff correspondence, architectural drawings, press clippings, and ephemera will give the public a secret window into WAM’s past and present.
This project is a continuation of a 2010–2011 deep dive into over 200 boxes of WAM archival material. The WAM Files currently covers the beginning of the Little Gallery in the 1930s, to the evolution to the University Art Museum, and eventually to the Weisman Art Museum. It also includes the 1993 move from a few rooms in Northrup Auditorium to the internationally known Frank Gehry Designed building of today.
WAM Files Phase II continues the process of collecting, organizing, and preserving the official records of the Weisman Art Museum through 2015. These documents describe both a critical time in architect Frank Gehry’s professional development as well as a significant time in the history of the museum and University. By making this material accessible to the public, it’s creating an informed and enduring understanding of the museum’s history, collections, and educational programming.
The WAM Files project is a collaborative effort between the Weisman Art Museum and the University of Minnesota Archives and will be led by emerging archivist Heather Carroll. Heather has a background in art and design, and is currently a graduate student in two programs: St Catherine University’s Masters of Library and Information Science Program and University of St Thomas’s Museum Studies Certificate Program. Carroll also works with the St Catherine University Fine Art Collection where she helps administer the Campus Art Loan Program, digitizes artworks, researches provenance, and helps with educational outreach. She leads a personal and collaborative project to digitize the journals published from 1979 to 1987 by the local feminist art collective WARM (or Women’s Art Resources of Minnesota).
WAM Files Phase II was made possible through the generous support of the Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Small Grants Program.