CHARLESTON, SC -- MAY 23, 2012 -- The American College of the Building Arts received 4,000 volumes of rare books, journals and other literary works related to the building and decorative arts from craftsman Richard O. Byrne of Staunton, Virginia this spring. The collection strengthens and enhances the 2,000 volumes currently in circulation at the College.
LTG (R) Colby M. Broadwater, President of ACBA, thanked Mr. Byrne for entrusting the College with such a historic collection. “The American College of the Building Arts is fortunate to receive such a well-cared for and thorough collection of materials from Richard Byrne, a man who has been a friend to the school and who is passionate about ensuring that craftsmanship remains viable in today’s society. This gift will ensure that ACBA’s students and others have access to a neo-classical collection of materials that will augment their understanding of the classic building trades.”
In a statement regarding the donation, Mr. Byrne said the collection is primarily directed at the students’ majors and contains volumes of information not only on technique but the conservation of materials and the pathology of materials and architecture.
“If one is involved in visual heritage,” Mr. Byrne said, “[the collection] is extremely rich in those areas.” The collection has materials from the 18th century and includes a set of works by French art critic, writer and encyclopedist Denis Diderot. Other notable items include:
The American College of the Building Arts renovated one of the main cell blocks in the Old Charleston District Jail, circa 1802, to house the collection with generous support from Ziff Properties Inc., U-Haul Industries of South Carolina, Bozelli Heating and Air, Ecco Electric and Interior Woodworking of Johns Island.
- An extensive Antiques Magazine collection dating back to the 1930s
- Numerous foreign volumes which are not currently in collections in the United States
- Thousands of supporting materials on the decorative arts including textiles, oriental rugs, silver, wallpapers and decorative painting.
The collection is currently undergoing cataloguing and will be open to the public through a cooperative agreement with Clemson University, the College of Charleston, and the Charleston County Public Library System this fall.
The American College of the Building Arts (ACBA), named as a 2012 recipient of the “Heroes of the New South” award by Southern Living, educates and trains artisans in the traditional building arts to foster exceptional craftsmanship and encourage the preservation, enrichment, and understanding of the world’s architectural heritage through a liberal arts education. The college awards degrees in six classic building trades: carpentry, timber framing, forged architectural ironwork, ornamental plaster, preservation masonry and stone carving. More information about the college and its programs may be found at www.buildingartscollege.us
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