January 2, 2018

Quirkiness: A Guide to the Architecture of Minnesota

Idiosyncratic and quirky architecture seemed to abound at one time in the not-so-distant past. The purpose of these buildings remains in most cases a mystery–perhaps in some cases necessity was the mother of invention or in other cases people someone took matters into their own hands to make the building of their dreams a reality….

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December 28, 2017

Familiar Places: A Guide to the Architecture of Minnesota

It was a great day when I opened a banker box to find hundreds of glossy, black and white photos of buildings–I love the nostalgia of old photographs, I love how architecture can be a time capsule reflecting the sensibilities and priorities of a community at a particular point in time and I have a…

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December 21, 2017

The gift of a letter

Photo by Don Wong. While processing the archival collection of the Weisman Art Museum, I stumbled upon a heartwarming exchange between a UMN Ph. D candidate and Frederick R. Weisman himself. Copies of the letters dated July 21, 1993 and July 26, 1993 are in a folder amidst other reactions to the newly built Gehry-designed…

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December 7, 2017

Twist and Seek(ins)

  I’ve been deep into processing photographs this week and was warmed by these photos from the 2001 opening for “Minnesota Art with a Twist”. Winter can be long and cold here, and maybe to some we seem a little wacky for putting up with it. Perhaps that’s just what inspired the theme of this…

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December 6, 2017

Graduate Studies… with a View

    Imagine its the mid-1990’s and you’re trying to decide between grad schools while paging through all the printed catalogs you got in the mail last week. You come across these photos of stylish grad students, studying on the terrace of the spandy new Weisman Art Museum overlooking the Washington Ave bridge and Minneapolis’s downtown…

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November 30, 2017

A Sonnet for WAM

In the summer of 2011 while the Weisman Art Museum was closed for construction, local visual poet Scott Helmes proposed a sonnet to honor the completion of an expansion to the iconic building. The correspondence from Helmes is as engaging to look at as the artist’s other works. Helmes proposal begins: Please send me a…

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November 22, 2017

Many Many Many Thanks

Thank you notes. Copies of hundreds and hundreds of hand written, personalized thank you notes, jam packed and bound into sturdy 4″ cloth covered binders that are labeled “datebooks”. These notes were all written by Lyndel King, Director of the University Gallery and Weisman Art Museum (WAM) since 1975.  King was director during the fundraising…

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November 16, 2017

“Art and Science Can Open the Door”

I find the two best parts of working in the archives are making discoveries while I’m processing materials, and helping people answer questions and make their own discoveries. In the library and archive world, the latter is called Reference Service. Recently, I was able to provide reference services using WAM’s archival collection, UMN’s digital conservancy…

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October 25, 2017

Remembering the Wellstones at WAM

In honor of Wellstone Remembrance Day today, we share the exhibition postcard for Twelve Years and Thirteen Days: Remembering Paul and Sheila Wellstone, photographs by Terry Gydeson. The photographic series became a book of the same title: Senator Paul Wellstone is remembered for his infectious enthusiasm and his ardent devotion to helping all people gain a voice…

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October 23, 2017

The Unusual Life of Painting No. 85

In a University Gallery Publicity Book dated 1968, amidst other article clippings about the gallery is an open letter to the University community from William C. Bernstien M.D., Clinical Professor and Director of Proctology. This item stands out from the rest–first, its a letter rather than an article, its written by a doctor rather than…

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