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  • Los Angeles Unified School District    

    Art & Artifact Collection/Archive and Museum

  • Los Angeles Unified School District

    Art & Artifact Collection/Archive and Museum

     The Mission of the Art & Artifact Collection/Archive and Museum

    • Engage and educate the Los Angeles community, including students, families, faculty, staff, alumni as well as independent historians, curators, librarians, and archivists about the history of LAUSD and its role within the greater community.
    • Preserve and protect the unique cultural heritage of LAUSD.
    • Encourage the school community to become involved in the dynamic process of contributing to the Collection/Archive and Museum in ways that reflect current environments and cultures. 

    History: 

    The LAUSD Art & Artifact Collection/Archive and Museum is a program of the LAUSD Arts Education Branch, Division of Instruction, in association with the Facilities Services Division. It consists of a public Collection, a unique Archive, and a historical Museum

     

    The LAUSD Art & Artifact Collection is located in over 1,000 school and administrative sites that have accumulated historical items, artwork, and artifacts, some as property of the District and others as gifts and donations.

    • Teachers, staff, alumni, and library associations gave gifts of artwork, rare books, yearbooks, scrapbooks, and silver tea sets used in Home Economics classes.
    • Under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, artists hired for the U.S. General Services Administration, Fine Arts Program (1935-1943) created public art for many LAUSD schools.
      • The Living New Deal is an online archive documenting the impact of the New Deal on American lives and public spaces such as LAUSD schools. https://livingnewdeal.org/ 
    • Non-profit organizations like the Hollywood Beautification Team received neighborhood grants from the City of Los Angeles to hire an artist to paint murals at schools. 
      • Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles maintains a FREE database of public Los Angeles' Mural History linking artists, murals and neighborhoods. https://www.themcla.org/  

     

    The LAUSD Art & Artifact Archive is a special repository in downtown Los Angeles that contains administrative and instructional documents, rare books, precious artifacts, and over 30,000 photographs, negatives, and slides of LAUSD school activities and architecture from the 1910s to the 1980s.

      • Venice High School had an on-campus Latin Museum (1932-1997) of antiquities from Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome, including vases, tools, and cuneiform tablets dating as far back as 4,000 years.  The Classical League of Downtown Los Angeles and Principal Mr. E.W. Clark (1917-1938) donated much of the collection.
        • The Cuneiform Tablet Collection of the Los Angeles Unified School District (Developed for USC Archeology program, May 2009) is in the Inscriptifact Digital Image Library, which allows access to over 3,000 high-resolution images of ancient inscriptions and artifacts in the LAUSD Collection/Archive.  For more details about any of the artifacts, please contact the Curator. https://digitallibrary.usc.edu/Share/w1371h1y1n1v3qwv4k61qd75514g381p?FR_=1&W=1536&H=746
          • Cuneiform Digital Library Bulletin 2016:1 (© Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative ISSN 1540-8760 Version: 24 November 2016) was made with the cuneiform translations.  Written in Sumerian, the earliest written language, cuneiform tablets have triangular indents made by a small stylus, which makes wedges. https://cdli.ucla.edu/file/publications/cdlb2016_001.pdf 
      • District employees served as staff photographers for the Audio-Visual Section, Public Information Office, and other District branches.  The accompanying, meticulously organized card catalog and the thousands of photographs and negatives are arguably the most impressive feature of the Archive.   
      • The Carnegie Corporation of New York (founded in 1911) distributed rare books, prints, etchings, and folio collections such as the Carnegie Art History Collection to secondary schools in the early 1930s.  The Californiana Collection consists of old curricula from the California State Series; also, a large donation from the Dawson Collection (formerly at George Washington High School) was mentioned in an issue of The Pacific Bindery Talk journal in September 1934.  Ernest Dawson owned a rare bookstore called Dawson's Book Shop, founded in Los Angeles in 1905. 
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    The LAUSD Art & Artifact Museum opened in 2014 and is located on the 2nd Floor of LAUSD Beaudry Administrative Offices Headquarters. Meant to resemble a late 19th-century classroom, objects in the exhibit tell the story of LAUSD’s formation, administration, programs, and display miscellaneous historical items commonly found in a classroom.  

      • Desks, furniture, and objects are from the original Heritage Schoolhouse Museum, previously called the Vernon Avenue Schoolhouse and originally built in 1876. 
      • A few highlights include books The E in U.N.E.S.C.O., 1950 that documents LAUSD’s partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, the Teacher’s Guide to American Ideals and Institutions, published in 1962 by Los Angeles City Schools to teach democratic values to secondary students, and a report card from Sentuous Street School, 1900. 
      • Instructional gems are displayed such as an antique lantern slide projector showing “snatching the rooster” (an early prairie game), an adding machine, the wooden “Neal Word Builder” phonics machine, and a music book called Old Spanish Songs of California from 1923.

     

    Frequently Asked Questions: 

    May I come in during regular business hours to look at the Archive or Museum

    **COVID HAS TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED ALL IN-PERSON VISITS**    

    The Archive and Museum are available by appointment only. Hours are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 9 am – 4 pm, excluding federal holidays.  Appointments are FREE, but we do not reimburse for parking.  For the Museum, there is NO visitor parking within the LAUSD Administrative Headquarters garage at 333 South Beaudry Avenue EXCEPT for those with Disabled Placards.

    Please note the Archive space is a warehouse, simultaneously being organized by staff, and is therefore not conducive to “tours” at this time. However, the Archivist is happy to research a subject or school on your behalf.

    Our school is celebrating an anniversary; does the Archive have any historic items?

    The LAUSD Art & Artifact Collection/Archive may have photographs, yearbooks or other memorabilia to loan or digitize to support your project.  Digitized historical photographs of LAUSD school activities, architecture, and aerials are available FREE for educational purposes.  Please be patient with these requests, which can take up to 2 weeks to process.

    If you dig up treasures through your own research at school-site archives or with alumni, past faculty and students, the LAUSD Art & Artifact Collection/Archive would love gratis copies of any digital or print publication to preserve and share your work for future generations.   

     I am interested in making an artwork, artifact, or memorabilia donation.  What is the process? 

    **THERE IS CURRENTLY A MORATORIUM ON ARCHIVE DONATIONS DUE TO COVID.  SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS TAKEN ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS**  

    Please email the Curator/Archivist for a Donation Application that will be approved following District guidelines.  All donations are outright and unconditional gifts to be used at LAUSD’s discretion.  It is expected that copyright ownership will accompany all gifts to LAUSD.  Gifts valued over $25,000 require Board of Education Approval. 

    Once approved and acquired, a Donation Acceptance Letter with LAUSD’s tax identification number will be issued to the donor.  The Archivist is NOT permitted to appraise the monetary value of a donation; the donor is advised to speak with their tax accountant, attorney, or hire an appraiser beforehand to ascertain the item’s value.  

    Additional Resources: 

        • Records before 1875, called the Common Council Minutes is kept by the Los Angeles City Records Center and Archives at the Piper Technical Center at 555 Ramirez Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
      • Los Angeles Unified School District’s Student Records Center (SRC) is responsible for the permanent archiving of student cumulative records of former LAUSD students. https://lausd.scriborder.com/ 
         
      • L.A. as Subject is an online directory of more than 230 separate archives/collections dedicated to improving access to Los Angeles history.  https://www.laassubject.org/

     

    For more information, please contact: 

    Cintia B. Romero 

    Curator/Archivist and Collection Manager 

    Office: 213-202-8684 

    cp-cintia.romero@lausd.net 

     

    This portion of the Los Angeles Unified School District's web presence identifies resources and links to other web sites that would appear useful to our readers. The opinions expressed on these pages are not necessarily those of the Los Angeles Unified School District.  Such references and links do not constitute any endorsement by the Los Angeles Unified School District of the products or services of those enterprises.

    A Special Note to Parents

    We have provided the following web sites for your child's fun and enjoyment and to assist them in conducting research on the web. Because of the nature of the Internet, it is still possible to access a series of links that may take one to almost anywhere. In other words, in spite of our efforts to supply appropriate material and links on this page, parents should supervise children while they surf the Web.

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