Friends of Prints,
Drawings & Photographs

Martin Lewis: Misty Night, Danbury


Behind the scenes in Prints, Drawings and Photographs

Since the winter of 2006, the DIA’s print study room and works on paper storage facilities have undergone some exciting renovations.  With a series of three successful grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the DIA has installed state-of-the-art storage cabinets that increase storage capacity for prints, drawings and photographs by 150%.  Currently, the DIA’s collection comprises about 35,000 works on paper dating from the 15th through the 21st century.  This important upgrade allows PDP to continue to grow its collection while ensuring that the art is stored in the most up-to-date facilities available.

Renovations to the study room and storage areas began with the installation of storage units after significant preparations were made by PDP staff.  From the spring through the summer of 2007, PDP staff carefully moved more than one thousand solander boxes and folders containing works of art from their old wooden, storage units and rehoused them in the new steel rolling units and flat shelving. Not only are the new space-saving storage units custom designed to house sensitive works of art,  they allow for easy access to works of art by PDP staff and interns.  This is an important feature because the print study room is a hive of activity with regular visits from scholars, researchers, and area students.   Followed by additional renovations to the study room, namely the installation of new radiators and a freshly painted ceiling, the study room rehab is now complete; tables and chairs have been positioned in the center of the room and books returned to their rightful place on the shelves. 

The print study room is first and foremost a space where students, researchers, scholars, and art lovers can make appointments to view works on paper in the collection.  As art lovers know, examining art objects firsthand is an important teaching and learning tool as it enables the viewer to more carefully study the artist’s technique and mastery of medium.  Even during the renovations, when the study room was operating at a reduced capacity, PDP welcomed nearly 400 students, researchers, scholars and art lovers annually.  Still open by appointment only, the study room can now accommodate class groups more comfortably as it continues to provide researchers an intimate setting in which to view works of art.