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Line, Shade & Shadow: Fabrication and Preservation of Architectural Drawings


Lois Olcott Price

The Brodsky Series for the Advancement of Library Conservation was pleased to present Lois Olcott Price from the Winterthur Museum of the University of Delaware as its speaker on Friday, October 28nd at 4 p.m. Because architectural drawings are not created as an end in themselves, but as graphic documents to construct a building, sell a project or explore a design concept, the materials and techniques chosen by the drafter are particular to the function of the drawing as well as the period in which it was created. The interpretation and preservation of architectural drawings depends upon an understanding of their functions in architectural practice and on a working knowledge of drafting materials and techniques. This lecture will include tracing the use of supports, media and photo-reproductive processes used to create architectural drawings in the 18th to 20th centuries.

The Workshop

This workshop emphasized the identification and understanding of materials and processes, and participants will have the opportunity to examine samples and ask questions. Building from this understanding of materials and using the available examples, we will also discuss housing and treatment options for these collections.

The workshop was attended by 14 students ranging in abilities from professionals drawn from regional libraries to first timers drawn from Syracuse University's iSchool and Museum Studies programs.

About the Speaker

Lois Olcott Price, Senior Conservator of Library Collections and Adjunct Assistant Professor, graduated cum laude with a major in history from Connecticut College in 1971. After completing her M.A. in the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture she worked for The Magazine Antiques and served as Director of Museum Planning for the Filson Club in Louisville, KY. In 1980 she completed her M.S. in WUDPAC majoring in paper conservation and interning at the Library of Congress. For the next 13 years she worked at the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts, a non-profit regional center in Philadelphia, rising to the position of senior conservator responsible for the treatment of all library and archival materials. In 1986 she also assumed responsibility for co-managing the laboratory which involved training interns, apprentices and technicians, performing and supervising conservation surveys, and designing and conducting educational programs. In 1994, Price became Conservator of Library Collections for the Winterthur Museum where she is responsible for all conservation activities in an 85,000-volume special collections library and for teaching in both the WUDPAC and WPEAC programs. In 2007 she became Director of Conservation at Winterthur, assuming responsibility for supervising a staff of 23 conservators and support staff and for promoting conservation activities and education throughout the institution and in the larger community.

She has lectured, consulted, and published widely on issues related to library and archival conservation, reviewed grants for NEH, IMS and NHPRC, and served as project director for several NEH and IMLS funded programs. Since 1991, she has pursued a long-standing research interest on the fabrication and preservation of American architectural drawings. In support of her research she has received several grants and has published a monograph on her work Line, Shade and Shadow: the Fabrication and Preservation of Architectural Drawings.

The Brodsky Series for the Advancement of Library Conservation is endowed through a generous gift by William J. ‘65, G’ 68 and Joan Brodsky ‘67, G’68 of Chicago, Illinois. Beginning in 2004, the endowment has been used to sponsor programs that promote and advance knowledge of library conservation theory, practice, and application among wide audiences, both on campus and in the region. Programs will typically include lectures and workshops by prominent library conservators.

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