Commitment, Continuity, and Community: Architecture at Notre Dame, 1898 – present

September 2, 2017 – August 5, 2018
Ernestine M. Raclin Gallery of Notre Dame History
A new exhibit at The History Museum celebrates 120 years of architecture at the University of Notre Dame. Commitment, Continuity, and Community: Architecture at Notre Dame, 1898 – present, a partnership effort of The History Museum and the University of Notre Dame’s School of Architecture and Architecture Library, is on view in the museum’s Ernestine M. Raclin Gallery of Notre Dame History through August 5, 2018.


Commitment, Continuity, and Community intrigues visitors at the outset with a model of Notre Dame’s Golden Dome and a can of Coe’s Gold Leaf, circa 1933, on loan from the University of Notre Dame Archives. The artifacts help tell the story of the Main Building, the centerpiece of Notre Dame’s past and present.


Books from the Ryan Rare Book Room at the Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame Architecture Library show amazing house floor plans from the early 20th century, some from Honor Bilt Modern Homes, a circa 1926 Sears, Roebuck and Company publication.


A wall in the gallery filled with School of Architecture student work catches the eye. Visitors learn that architecture students first sketch their designs and then bring them to life with watercolors. Also shown are photographs and books related to the University’s Rome Studies Program. Among American university architecture schools, the School of Architecture is the only one which requires a foreign studies program for its students.


The relationship between Notre Dame’s School of Architecture and contemporary architects is explored through The Richard H. Driehaus Prize at the University of Notre Dame, established in 2003. The prize is awarded to living architects whose work represents excellence in traditional and classical architecture in contemporary society.


An engaging presentation of downtown South Bend in the 1920s is offered through several three-dimensional printed models of buildings from that period. The models and an immersive 3D virtual tour are part of Building South Bend: Past, Present & Future, which documents the historical architecture and neighborhoods of the city. The project was a collaboration of the Architecture Library, The History Museum, and the Historic Preservation Commission of South Bend and St. Joseph County.


A glance at the future home of the School of Architecture is shown with a model of the new building, which will be named the Matthew and Joyce Walsh Family Hall of Architecture.


From its downtown studio and community collaborations in South Bend to 50 years of studies in Rome, from 3D models to virtual reality, the School of Architecture and the Architecture Library at the University of Notre Dame are committed to the study of classical architecture and the design of a healthy, beautiful, and sustainable built environment.


Also at The History Museum is the 38-room Oliver Mansion, once home to industrialist J.D. Oliver, president of the Oliver Chilled Plow Works. All furnishings in the historic house are original to the home, giving visitors a remarkable glimpse of how the wealthy family lived.


The History Museum is open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. House tours are available Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., and Sunday, 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. There is a charge for admission to The History Museum. Members are free. For an additional amount, visitors can also see all three floors of exhibits at the adjoining Studebaker National Museum.

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