Monumental Archives

Image of the JCB and Hay Libraries.


        Monumental Archives is a collaborative project between the John Carter Brown Library and the John Hay Library, led by library directors Karin Wulf and Amanda Strauss. 

     A critical perspective on monuments and memorials has helped illuminate how monuments are situated not in the past they memorialize, but in the instances of their creation and perpetuation. At the same time, archivists and librarians and scholars working in a host of other disciplines have analyzed and interrogated the meaning and shape of archival collections, illuminating how archives of the past are constituted in the present and reflect the biases and priorities of the moment of their making.

      This project brings together these strands of scholarship to explore how architecture and aesthetics have joined with collecting and organizational development to create –and to exclude– particular paths to accessing the past within libraries and archives. The John Hay Library  and the John Carter Brown Library are partnering in a series of collaborative ventures under the rubric of "Monumental Archives," dedicated to both creating more accessible archives and to a scholarly and public exploration of exclusivity in institutional collections.

    This webpage contains information on the Monumental Archives project, with links for events, information, and associated programming. In 2022-2023 Monumental Archives hosted two workshops, one a day long gathering of scholars and archivists to discuss their mutual work; the second convened colleagues at Brown to discuss archival space and exclusion. In 2023-24 Amanda and Karin published the below reflections. In 2024-25 Monumental Archives will host a campus reading series on archives. As the archival turn has engaged scholars across so many disciplines and the public alike, this will create a space to read and collectively think about what are archives are and do– particularly in colonial contexts. The calendar and schedule of readings will be posted here by mid-summer.

Collaboration: A Margaret Bingham Stillwell Imprint 

Amanda E. Strauss and Karin Wulf 

January 26, 2023

Image of Margaret Stillwell.

Critical Archives 

Karin Wulf and Amanda Strauss

August 24, 2023

Map of New England from 1670.