As we reported back in August 2015, the WCS Archives received a Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. We’re pleased now to report the completion of the project, in which we developed a Conceptual Preservation Design Plan for a new WCS Archives space. Situated in the Bronx Zoo’s Heads and Horns Building, this space would include a large collections storage area to provide safe, sustainable preservation conditions for our historical materials, proper fhich we currently lack) to host those consulting the collections as well as classes and small lectures, and a small exhibition area to showcase WCS’s historical treasures to invited audiences.
We’re excited by by the prospect of creating this new space within the Heads and Horns Building as a testament to zoo and conservation history. Constructed, as an exterior tablet explains, “in memory of the vanishing big game of the world,” the building opened in May 1922 as the Museum of Heads and Horns and served as a gallery for around 50 years. The new Archives space will take advantage of the Museum’s original grand, high ceilings (hidden today by drop ceilings) to maximize area, and existing spaces would be reconfigured and expanded to accommodate current occupants.
Based on preservation strategies that balance effectiveness, cost, and environmental impact, the Conceptual Preservation Design Plan was created by the WCS Library and Archives, Exhibits and Graphic Arts, and Facilities staff working with consultants from Dagher Engineering and the Image Permanence Institute. While the plan is only at a concept stage right now, we are looking forward to pursuing the design and construction stages.