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Teaching With Archives: Searching For Oliver Smith's Designs, Patrick Finelli Dec 2011

Teaching With Archives: Searching For Oliver Smith's Designs, Patrick Finelli

Patrick Finelli

This essay describes research centered on the American scenographer Oliver Smith. Design students were presented challenges related to archival identification, access, investigation, and presentation of findings. The students framed their inquiry according to conventional practice, searching library collections and then following bibliographic threads as they expanded their keyword search inquiries to other collections. The objectives were to distinguish between biographical and archival research, uncover works of art in physical repositories, and examine rough sketches and finished renderings in order to illuminate the creative imagination of the designer. The students believed that the problem of gaining access to physical archives could ...