The health and safety of our community is, and must be, our highest priority. PAFA will continue to monitor the global and local situation with regard to COVID-19, including advisories from local and national health authorities, while the Museum is closed to the public.
As a result, all research requests have been suspended until further notice. We urge patrons to use our Digital Archives to access historical records and online resources to supplement your research needs for the time being.
Over the summer months, the Archives has been working diligently behind the scenes upgrading our digital collections platform–from Omeka to Omeka S. The new platform provides greater flexibility as we grow our digital collections.
We are still performing web and user interface tests, ensuring a seamless transition and simple, straightforward navigation. The launch of PAFA’s New Digital Archives will be September 1, 2019.
The Dorothy and Kenneth Woodcock Archives recently acquired a collection of periodical illustrations by PAFA Alumna Jessie Willcox Smith 1863-1935). Compiled by a collector over many years, the illustrations eventually made its way here after the estate donated it to PAFA.
Smith was a prolific illustrator during the late 19th, early 20th centuries. Her work has been published in many of the leading magazines of the time including Collier’s, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, Woman’s Home Companion, and Ladies’ Home Journal.
As America’s first fine art school, we are proud to provide students and artists an intense immersion in art-making anchored in a rich heritage of artistic achievement. It is without question, PAFA provides a fine arts education unlike any other.
Photographs in this collection provide a glimpse at the studio arts training in painting, illustration, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, and of course, PAFA’s long-standing tradition of working from the figure. Photographs also provide evidence of our vibrant community of artists, curators, critics and teachers who create complex, diverse and provocative work and provide inspiration and stimulus for individual expression.
We are pleased to announce that the Hyman Myers, Historic Landmark Building renovation project files are open and available for research. This collection provides an in-depth look at PAFA’s 1970s renovation of it’s Historic Landmark Building designed by Frank Furness and George Hewitt. Myers was the project lead for the renovation of the building. The collection contains extensive correspondence with clients, vendors, and various projects such as roof repointing, painting, skylight repairs, waterproofing, and electric upgrades. Also included are photographs evaluating the building and architectural plans for renovations.
Until 1903 the annual exhibitions included oils, watercolors, prints, drawings, and sculpture. In 1904 watercolors, prints, and drawings were segregated into a separate annual exhibition. The annual exhibitions of watercolors, prints, and drawings were cosponsored by the Philadelphia Watercolor Club and the Pennsylvania Society of Miniature Painters. Thus, from 1904 to 1953, the Academy mounted two annual exhibitions.
One of the archives’ primary function is providing scholars access to PAFA’s extensive collections of primary sources. Primary sources are firsthand evidence of historical events. They are generally unpublished materials such as manuscripts, photographs, maps, artifacts, audio and video recordings, oral histories, postcards, or posters. In some instances, published materials can also be viewed as primary materials for the period in which they were written
In collaboration with PAFA’s Museum Education Department, the Center for the Study of the American Artist helped host one portion of a day long professional development workshop connecting art teachers with primary sources that can support classroom topics and promotes the effective use of PAFA’s resources.
The teachers examined works by George Harding, Elizabeth Osborne, Eadweard Muybridge, and Thomas Eakins in our study room. The workshop also included a behind the scenes tour of PAFA’s Works of Art on Paper Storage facility.
For more information on how to schedule classes at the Center for the Study of the American Arist, please visit our website.
Customized professional development opportunities are available through the School of Fine Arts (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Museum Education (email@example.com) with ACT 48 and New Jersey credits.
Until 1903 the annual exhibitions included oils, watercolors, prints, drawings, and sculpture. In 1904 watercolors, prints, and drawings were segregated into a separate annual exhibition, which also featured the annual display of the Pennsylvania Society of Miniature Painters. Thus, from 1904 to 1953, the Academy mounted two annual exhibitions.
Contributed by Hoang Tran, Director of Archives, and Barbara Katus, Manager of Imaging Services
Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904) was an English photographer who is considered the father of motion picture because of his photographic studies of animal motion.His pivotal work in the development and evolution of motion picture began in 1872. Muybridge was hired by Leland Stanford, the California governor and founder of Stanford University, to settle a debate regarding whether a horse had all its hooves off the ground simultaneously or not. For six years, Muybridge used photography to figure out the answer to the question. All his work led to success in 1878 when he setup 12 cameras along a racetrack to photograph a galloping horse. The photographs proved that there is a point when no hooves touch the ground during the horse’s stride.
Muybridge’s connection to PAFA began when PAFA’s board member Fairman Rogers and art faculty member Thomas Eakins corresponded with Muybridge about his Stanford photograph project. In 1883, Rogers invited Muybridge to give a lecture at the Academy. On February 12, 1883, Muybridge lectured on The Romance and Realities of Animal Locomotion, illustrated by the Zoopraxiscope at PAFA. Muybridge eventually relocated to Philadelphia and continued his work on his landmark study on animal locomotion.
Under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania, Muybridge eventually published 12 volumes that illustrated animal locomotion in 781 plates. Fairman Rogers who was an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania and co-founder of the School of Veterinary Medicine, professor of civil engineering acquired a set of Muybridge’s 12 volumes. In 1887, Rogers donated the volumes to PAFA’s library.
128 years after Rogers’ donation, the volumes required much needed conservation to be usable again. PAFA was fortunate enough to receive grant funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to support the conservation of all 12 volumes. After conservation, the volumes were all digitized in-house. The volumes are now freely accessible online.
To view all 12 volumes, please visit PAFA’s Digital Archives here.
I want to wrap up by extending my thanks to IMLS for the grant that made this project possible. Overall, I’m incredibly proud of the work I did here at PAFA, and there are so many images that I can’t wait to send to people to discuss, once everything is up and running online. (That old adage that ‘everyone has a twin’ is more true than I thought – I’ve lost count of how many double takes I’ve done, thinking the subject of a painting from over a hundred years ago was actually a friend of mine now. Also, there are so many adorable dogs the world deserves to see.)
Even aside from all the technical (that is, marketable) skills I’ve learned, working with these materials has been an object lesson in how small the world can be – for example, the first time I saw the painting “Three Friends,” by Joseph Rodefer DeCamp, was not in installation photographs from the 1912 Annual Exhibition, but hanging in the main library of my alma mater six years ago, dourly watching over thousands of undergrads going about their academic lives. It’s little things like that that were, for me, the most exciting part – those moments of connection between Back Then, and Now.