Preserving Jefferson’s Architectural Drawings with a Grant from the Jefferson Trust
In February 2009, the Jefferson Trust awarded the University of Virginia Library a generous grant to support the conservation treatment of Thomas Jefferson’s original architectural drawings of his plans for an Academical Village.
These invaluable documents from the founding of the University had been laminated several decades ago using the Barrow method, a standard mid-20th century conservation treatment, before the process was recognized as ultimately harmful to paper collections. With the funds from the Jefferson Trust, the Library has had several of Jefferson’s drawings de-laminated and mended, allowing them to be seen unobscured for the first time in many years.
Some of these drawings are currently on view in the exhibition Thomas Jefferson’s Academical Village at the University of Virginia Art Museum. All but two of the Library-owned documents in the exhibit have been treated thanks to the Jefferson Trust. The items include Jefferson’s drawings and specifications for the Pavillions, his various drafts of the Lawn rooms and gardens, as well as detail drawings of columns, archways, and the well-known serpentine wall. The grant funds will continue to be used to de-laminate as many drawings as possible and to support the rehousing of the newly-conserved drawings.
The Jefferson Trust, an unrestricted endowment initiative of the University of Virginia Alumni Association, provides funding via grants to University programs that enliven Jefferson’s vision and intensify the University’s national and international reputation for excellence.