The Farber Archives presents a campus history, from on high

'From Waltham Wilds to Urban University' will be on display through the fall 2009 semester

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“From Waltham Wilds to Urban University: The Story of Brandeis Through Maps and Aerials,” the latest exhibit presented by the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, presents a bird’s-eye view of the campus’ physical evolution. Featuring aerial photography and maps from 1948 through the present, the collection relives the construction of the university from the ground up.    

“From Waltham Wilds to Urban University” will be on display through the fall 2009 semester at the Farber Archives, located on Level 2 of the Goldfarb Library. The archives are open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Curator Maggie McNeely provided BrandeisNOW with her perspective on the exhibit: 

“Whether it is an overhead view of the Ullman Amphitheater, Spingold under construction, or the clearing of the apple orchard for the Gerstenzang science complex, aerial images document major transformations to the Brandeis campus during its six decades of existence. These images also demonstrate how differently members of the Brandeis community experienced the campus over time.

“When the doors to Brandeis opened in the fall of 1948, two structures dominated the campus: the Castle and Main Hall—also known as Science Hall—and later named Ford Hall. During the 1950s one could walk into the old library (a former horse stable) to check out books and then take a short stroll to study beneath the grape arbor. In the 1960s, one witnessed an explosion of buildings, most notably the creation of a unique arts complex and a science complex that would dominate the environs for years to come. By the early 1970s, Brandeis had clearly been transformed into a tightly structured urban campus. Thereafter, all building projects would be fitted into whatever little space remained. By 2000, every pre-Brandeis structure had been razed, with the exception of the emblematic Castle.

“Since working in the Archives at Brandeis I have discovered that people are intrigued to see a shot of the campus from the sky— from any time period. For me, viewing changes in the campus is a great way to ground myself in the university through the mirror of its history. The physical environs have affected all levels of activity and learning about how the university was built from the ground up gives it context, a place in space, and it is a significant part of our narrative. Brandeis is unique because of its relative youth, and it is really amazing to see its rapid growth and great success in the years following World War II.”

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