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The Preservationist

April 14, 2016

Erin Weevers, a graduate student in Historic Preservation, spent an entire semester inching her way through the Roger Brown Study Collection (RBSC), climbing two winding stairways and meticulously measuring space from floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall—even paying heed to a multitude of hanging objects. 

Through her Co-op internship experience she had landed a rare opportunity: to spend a semester as the collection’s Design Drawing and Curatorial Assistant.

The Study Collection, a house museum given to SAIC by artist and alumnus Roger Brown in 1997, is a repository of objects collected over a lifetime and carefully arranged in visual conversation. It is also a hands-on laboratory. “We try to get all aspects of the organization, documentation, and interpretation of the site keyed into academic programming whenever we can,” says Lisa Stone, curator of the RBSC. “Any meaningful project that we have, we try to offer to a student or class.”

“Erin came on board when we were starting to re-catalogue the entire collection,” adds Stone, “and even though we had floor plans of most of the site we needed good elevation drawings.” 

I think the environment we live in is shaped by what we, as a society, deem valuable enough to save.
—Erin Weevers

Weevers created interior elevations, plans, and details of the entire second floor, honoring Brown’s original arrangements, the house’s identity, and—in historic preservation terms—its integrity.

“I come from an architectural design background, but this wasn’t like any project I’ve done,” she explains. “I went into it feeling well prepared because I had wonderful professors who taught me how to look at buildings, to understand how and why they’re put together, and how their construction impacts use, functionality, and preservation.

“I think the environment we live in is shaped by what we, as a society, deem valuable enough to save—and I’ve learned that this should be an intentional and thoughtful process.”

After graduation, Weevers took a job as a curatorial assistant for the University of Alberta Museums and says her Co-op experience at the RBSC was worth every minute. 

From Stone’s perspective, Weever’s work has been invaluable. 

“Erin took on this project like it was a piece of cake. She did a really marvelous job because she understood the space and what we wanted to do. We’ll use the plans she created forever.”