Minneapolis, MN: Walker Art Center Library

Visit: We met with Jill Vuchetich, the Walker Archivist.  The Walker does not actually collect any design, but their first director was an architect, Dan Deffenbacher, and very interested in using the museum as an educational tool. The Walker was a WPA project, and education was part of their mission.

They began a series of exhibitions which would focus on “Everyday Art” – exhibiting design. They went on to create dozens of exhibitions, but never collected any of the works they included.

Jill says don’t have a great photo collection. Problem is space and $.The early product shows usually had borrowed objects, which were returned to the owners.

In 1946 they started a publication called Everyday Art Quarterly.  In 1952, it changed title to Design Quarterly, and in 1994, they transferred the operation to MIT. They do not have archives for the Design Quarterly publicaton.

They have extensive show files for all exhibtions, which include items such as correspondence, plans, labels, research, checklists, photographs and publications

They also have an archive of the museum’s design department, which includes everything the department has produced since the 1940s - posters, publications, etc. See the recent book (Bits and Pieces . . . Making up a whole) on p 141 there is a synopsis of the library/archives. Visiting architects, designers and critics – see list in the book – all were recorded. See website for information, under “public Programs.”

The archives does have architects drawings and models for their own museum building, and the sculpture garden.

Discoveries: Jill did an internal database search of their exhbitions, and an intital search using the word “design” returned over 40. She subsequently did an expanded search to find those exhibitions which were design related, and which might not have had the word design in the title. She sent the list - there were over 150 design exhibitions held at the Walker!

Their website collects architecture and design-relevant information in a portal-type online "magazine".

They were in the process of completing work on a major Graphic Design exhibition which opened in October.

learned about locals:

Target does have an archivist and archives, some of which is online.

3M donates its archives to the Minnesota Historical Society.