Accessing the archive

Accessing the archive

The Landscape Institute has announced its decision to work with the Garden Museum to ensure the accessibility of its historic archive of landscape designs to scholars and members of the public.

The LI will collaborate with the Garden Museum, the Garden History Society and the Association of Garden Trusts to create an ‘archive hub’ for drawings and other historical materials related to landscape architecture and design. 

The aim is to establish a place for the sharing of scholarly and research assets and to increase fundraising potential. The role of the Garden Museum, the leading national venue for exhibitions and debate on gardens and garden design, will be to provide a publicly-accessible location for the archive.

The collaboration will also allow for the hosting of exhibitions as well as regular seminars. Plans are currently being made for a joint exhibition From the Garden City to the Green City to be held in the autumn of 2011.

In due course, the hub plans to make funding applications, which the LI will support, to cover the development, conservation and increased accessibility of the different collections involved. The objective will be to maximise the use given to the collections in a context most likely to generate new funding to support them.

Commenting on the agreement, Landscape Institute CEO Alastair McCapra, said: “Nothing in the relationship between the LI and the Garden Museum compromises the LI’s ownership of the collections. As well as retaining ownership of the collections the LI will also retain custody of them, with the exception of any items requested for loan or scholarly use by the Garden Museum. Plans, drawings, slides and other archive materials of scholarly interest will be held in specialist archival storage and will be requested by the Garden Museum for hub activities or by individual scholars and researchers.”

Christopher Woodward, Director of the Garden Museum, said: “We are very excited that we will become the host venue for the Landscape Institute’s archive of design drawings. In 2008 we built new galleries and stores at the Museum, and re-launched ourselves as a centre for exhibitions and events about contemporary garden and landscape design. It’s worked: we have twice as many visitors.

“Our strength is that we’re a building in the middle of London, which is open to the public 350 days a year, and the next stage is to become a ‘hub’ for archives and public programmes of a partnership of the LI, the Garden History Society, the Association of Garden Trusts and the Parks and Gardens Database UK. The LI’s archive is the most important collection of its kind in the UK, and it will be the foundation of a major archive of design. It’s remarkable that Britain has never had a home for its great designers’ papers. For the first time it looks likely to happen.”

A detailed statement on the library and archive is now available in the members’ section of the website

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