The Alexander Architectural Archives and the School of Information
The Alexander Architectural Archives at the University of Texas at Austin is an architectural research center of national importance. As a unit of the University of Texas Libraries within the Architecture and Planning Library, the Archives supports research and education about the history of the built environment by acquiring and preserving research collections and by making them accessible. The Archives also supports learning opportunities and scholarly activities for students studying preservation of the cultural record and archival enterprise.
The Archives are fortunate to have a close and ongoing relationship with the University of Texas School of Information. Students interested in preservation issues conduct research, sponsor symposia, and convene expert thinking on broad, timely, interrelated topics that address the management of our documentary heritage, and builds on the School's renowned graduate education program in preservation administration and conservation. Graduate students learn the art and science of collections care and the methods of managing and promoting preservation activities in order to fulfill the fundamental goal of extending the life of materials in libraries and archives.
The School of Information has long maintained a commitment to preservation and conservation education. It established one of the early preservation programs in the mid 1980s in association with its highly regarded Archives Studies program. The Conservation Studies Program transferred to the iSchool from Columbia University in 1992 evolving through several incarnations. In 2009 the iSchool moved to a new location where state-of-the-art conservation labs were constructed. While the school is still offering classes in book and paper conservation and preservation, they continue to explore directions for conservation education and expand the range of materials covered in the curriculum.
The Archives serves as a learning lab, providing students opportunities for course work, volunteering, and employment. These opportunities provide practical experiences that enhance the learning environment. Student work conducted at the Archives includes: conservation treatments, re-housing collections, evaluating and updating the disaster plan, conducting preservation needs assessments as well as creating and evaluating environmental monitoring plans, writing mock grant proposals, and designing new storage options. Recently, the Archives established a Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) preservation position through the generous gift of The Young Boozer Family Foundation. Work performed by students, employed under this assistantship, fulfills a very vital role that is core to the Archive's mission. The Archive aims to continue its work with the Center and is seeking funding to establish a permanent Preservation GRA position for ISchool students. For more information on how you can support this initiative please visit Support Your Libraries or contact the Archives' Curator, Beth Dodd.