Archival Adventures in Small Repositories
The Center for Art in Wood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was established in 1986 as the Wood Turning Center. Its mission is to continue being the preeminent arts and education organization advancing the growth, awareness, appreciation and promotion of artists and the creation and design of art in wood and wood in combination with other materials. In addition to its museum collection of over 1,000 objects ranging from functional objects to contemporary sculpture in wood, the Center's Fleur and Charles Bresler Research Library contains over 25,000 artists' files and 1,800 books. There is also a large video collection, consisting of artists' profiles, recordings of event proceedings, and instructional videos. Additionally, the Center is a repository for archival collections from various artists, researchers studying art in wood, and other sources. The largest of these, comprising nearly one third of the Center's total archival holdings, is the records of the John Grass Wood Turning Company (1910-1952, 1993-2002). In operation from 1863 to 2003, the Grass company specialized in creating tool handles, flag poles, furniture legs, and other wooden objects shaped on a lathe.