Project Description Exterior Perspective Interior Perspective Exterior Detail
View Gallery Robert Silberman Quote

Archiving Memory is a temporary site-specific public artwork contextualizing the Elmer L. Andersen Library, its collections, and architecture as a public memorial. Archiving Memory transforms a rare, special collection of twelve photographs and oral histories from Austrian –Jewish and Christian – survivors of Nazi persecution and resistance into a 35-foot high public artwork and photography installation. The purpose of Archiving Memory is to construct a temporary site of remembrance where design materials represent – and perform – historical experience and memory.

Created by photographer Nancy Ann Coyne in collaboration with Conway+Schulte Architects, the project aims to foster public dialogue about the cultural significance of archives, family photographs – in particular those saved by survivors of war, persecution, and exile – and the relationship between photography and architecture. Archives are generally considered inaccessible to the public. Archiving Memory challenges this concept.

An exhibition brochure with a critical text, written by art historian Robert Silberman, accompanies the project.

The Elmer L. Andersen Library is home to eight individual special collections and archives, including the Kerlan Collection of Children’s Literature, the Givens Collection of African American Literature, and, of special relevance to this project, the Kann Collection of Austrian History and Culture. Designed by Stageberg Beyer and Sachs, Inc., it was opened in 2000 and houses over 1.5 million items in its caverns under the University of Minnesota.