Description of the Series, Boxes 1-53, 1932-1994
The records of Northwestern University’s Block Gallery (renamed Block Museum in 1998) date largely from the late 1970s through 1994, with a few earlier documents, and fill 53 boxes. The records are divided into seven categories: administrative and general correspondence files, donation and development records, events files, exhibitions files, Friends of Art, grants and arts organizations files, and personnel files.
The administrative and general correspondence files, which fill the first nine boxes of the series, relate largely to routine matters including publicity, public relations, tour groups, and receptions held at the Block. The files are arranged alphabetically by keyword of folder heading.
Donation and development records relate largely to donations to the Block, both financial and material. The first three boxes in this category contain records of smaller monetary donations from individuals during the period 1979-1987. These files are arranged chronologically. The remainder of the category contains files on larger financial donations, both by individuals and corporations, and donations of works of art. These files are arranged alphabetically by folder headings.
The events files date between 1979 and 1989 and are arranged chronologically. These files principally contain information on tour groups visiting the Block Gallery. Also found here is a small volume of records on conferences and receptions held at the Block. These files, typically one folder per event, generally contain very basic information, commonly recording the number of visitors or noting the provision of any special accommodations.
The exhibitions files fill twenty-three boxes and contain information on both accepted and declined exhibitions. The accepted exhibitions fill nearly eighteen boxes and are arranged chronologically by the date of the exhibition. Typically, there are multiple files on a particular exhibition; these files are further arranged according to a rough chronology or by topical folder headings. These files date from 1978 through 1987. They contain administrative correspondence, reports and related documents pertaining to the exhibition, information on physical space requirements, pertinent budgetary records, and audience evaluations. The files on declined exhibitions complete the category and fill five boxes. These files date from 1974 through 1987. Prominent among them is a large volume of material relating to a prospective exhibition on French genre painting.
The Friends of Art is a group of Block Gallery patrons heavily involved in fundraising and development efforts. The Friends of Art files are arranged in five boxes, first into subcategories and within these alphabetically by folder title. The subcategories are: general, donors, events, membership, and solicitations. The files span the period 1972 through 1994.
Filling six boxes, Grants and arts organizations files are arranged alphabetically by folder headings; they span the period 1979 through 1990. These files principally contain records of applications for exhibition funding made by the Block Gallery and Northwestern University to various granting agencies. There is a small number of files present relating to the Block’s involvement with governmental cultural agencies, mainly the Evanston and Illinois Arts Councils.
A small volume of personnel files contain employment-related records on individuals who worked at the Block Gallery during the 1980s. There are also a few files relating to 1982 and 1984 searches for curators as well as job descriptions.
Description of the Addition, Boxes 54-82, 1980-1997
The exhibitions files addition fills 29 boxes and covers exhibits from 1980-1997. These files are arranged chronologically by the dates the exhibits ran. There are typically multiple files for each show, but all the folders are labeled with the title of the exhibits. These files contain administrative correspondence, reports and related documents pertaining to the exhibition, condition reports, pertinent budgetary records, slides, transparencies, photographs, exhibit catalogues, docent educational materials, and related publications.