Guest post from Panopticon Co-Chair, Emily Glinert about Panopticon’s day trip to Providence:
On April 18, six members of Panopticon met in Providence, Rhode Island to spend the day touring the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and Providence Athenaeum.
Our tour began in Fleet Library where Ellen Petraits, Reference Librarian, greeted us. Ellen took us throughout the library showing us how a former bank was converted to be a state of the art library. Because the building is a historical landmark, the space had to be used creatively without changing any of the original structure. It is truly a sight to behold! Ellen also took us to see Technical Services and the Visual Resources Center, where we got to learn more about the different aspects of the collections.
Following our time with Ellen, we met Laurie Whitehill Chong for a tour of the RISD Special Collections. Not only did we have the opportunity to see the unique objects in the archives, but Laurie also took out some of the unique works from the Artists’ Books for us to see. One of the highlights from this collection was a book by Angela Lorenz that had been written on six sheets of linen and then each individual piece of linen was contained within a bar of soap! You can view the work here.
Next, we walked to the Providence Athenaeum, where we met Kate Wodehouse, Collections Librarian. Kate took us on a comprehensive tour of the library and explained some of the history to us as well, including where Edgar Allen Poe is rumored to have met his girlfriend at the time, Sarah Helen Whitman. We also spent time viewing some of the unique pieces of the collection – including some of the sources Melville used to write Moby Dick!
After our meeting with Kate, it was time to go home. Despite some tired feet, we all enjoyed the tours greatly and learned a lot about the many aspects of art librarianship.
Many thanks to RISD, the Providence Athenaeum, Ellen Petraits, Laurie Whitehill Chong, Kate Wodhouse and Abby Saunders for all of your help to make our trip to Providence a success.