This Tuesday we had a visit in the library by Claudia Busch, Eric Peterson, and Michelle Cintron from the School of Architecture at Florida International University. Professor Busch and her colleagues will be teaching a class for second year architecture students this coming Spring semester. Students taking this class will be designing plans for a small museum dedicated exclusively to the postcard. With well over 11,000 postcards in our library collection, the professors visited our library to determine some of the important environmental, security, storage, lighting, presentation, visitation, and exhibition concepts that their students ought to be considering in their plans. Some of the topics discussed at the meeting included the types of shelving and storage best suited to housing and facilitating retrieval of such a collection; whether this museum would need to accommodate visits by the general public and large groups of school children; and whether there ought to be a separate section or area with study carrels or offices for visiting researchers or residential scholars. Other considerations brought up by Wolfsonian curator Sarah Schleuning included ideas related to optimal viewing, weighing in on the pluses and minuses of natural and artificial lighting treatments. And, of course, when contemplating a site on South Beach, what ought student architects be thinking in terms of protecting the collection from undue light exposure, flooding, and tropical rain and windstorms.

While we have not yet ever mounted an exhibition devoted solely to the postcard, we do regularly integrate them into our public galleries and especially in our own library displays. Because of their relatively small and standard shapes, postcard exhibitions pose some particularly difficult problems for display. To avoid monotonous exhibits, a postcard museum might want to make use of narrow gallery spaces where the items do not get lost. Alternatively, the student architects might want to take advantage of the new technologies of digital capture and projection to create environments where the postcards could be presented to the public virtually in any variety of scales and sizes. Whatever choices these students ultimately make, we can be sure that a visit to the Wolfsonian’s facility and collection will serve to inspire them with the postcards’ possibilities. Here are just a few of the postcards that these professors had a chance to see.

~ by "The Chief" on November 25, 2009.

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