Indianapolis Museum of Art unveils new digital archive for Miller House and Garden

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Museum completes three-year digitization project for mid-century Modernist masterpiece

The digital collection includes more than 17,000 images related to Miller House and Garden, a mid-century Modernist residence in Columbus, Ind. Courtesy of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

The new digital archive allows a world-wide public to access this modern masterpiece, and illustrates the collaboration and innovation that went into creating it.

The Indianapolis Museum of Art has unveiled a new online archival collection for Miller House and Garden, one of the nation’s most highly regarded mid-century Modernist residences. Located in Columbus, Ind. and open for scheduled tours, the site is one of two National Historic Landmarks owned by the IMA.

The robust digital collection contains 17,699 downloadable images, including architectural drawings, material samples, photographs and administrative documents related to the history of the property. The archive spans more than 50 years, from the initial planning and construction of the house to later renovations and interior design projects.

The digitization project was made possible by a $190,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded to the Museum in May 2012. During the three-year project, the IMA scanned and photographed the contents of 68 archival boxes and 70 flat file folders to create the online collection. Throughout the process, Archives staff shared findings on a corresponding Tumblr site, Documenting Modern Living: Digitizing the Miller House & Garden Collection.

“Pieces from The Miller House and Garden Collection are some of the most frequently requested materials from the IMA Archives,” said Samantha Norling, archivist at the IMA. “Digitizing the collection provides scholars and those with an interest in architecture, landscapes, design and mid-century Modernism with easy access to these materials. The IMA as a whole is dedicated to providing online access to the Museum’s unique holdings, and the digitized Miller House and Garden Collection is the IMA Archives’ first contribution to these efforts.”

Miller House and Garden was commissioned in 1953 by industrialist and philanthropist J. Irwin Miller and his wife, Xenia Simons Miller. The property showcases the work of three of the world’s leading 20th-century architects, designers and landscape architects: Eero Saarinen, Alexander Girard and Dan Kiley. In 2000, the property was designated a National Historic Landmark while still being occupied by its original owners. In 2009, members of the Miller family donated the house and gardens, along with many of its original furnishings and the archives collection, to the IMA. The site opened to the public in May 2011, with tours made possible through the Columbus Area Visitors Center.

“In many ways Miller House and Garden is the jewel in the IMA’s crown,” said Dr. Charles L. Venable, the IMA’s Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO. “The new digital archive allows a world-wide public to access this modern masterpiece, and illustrates the collaboration and innovation that went into creating it.”

The nationally-recognized IMA Lab, an in-house group of designers, developers, and digital strategists, created a custom digital archives database for the Museum through which The Miller House and Garden online collection will be made available. Additional digital collections from the IMA Archives will be added in the future.

Visit the new digital collection online at http://www.imamuseum.org/DocumentingModernLiving.

Documenting Modern Living: Digitizing the Miller House & Garden Collection is made possible by
the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this announcement do not necessarily reflect
those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

About the Indianapolis Museum of Art
The Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) is located on a 152-acre campus of lush gardens, historic homes, outdoor sculptures, inspiring performance and gallery spaces. Founded in 1883, the IMA is among the 10 oldest and 10 largest encyclopedic art museums in the United States and features significant collections of African, American, Asian, European, contemporary art and design arts that span 5,000 years of history. With innovative programming to engage guests of all ages, the IMA offers a variety of interactive experiences inside the galleries, throughout the campus and within the local community. From gardening demos in the Madeline F. Elder Greenhouse to outdoor film screenings in the IMA Amphitheater to community celebrations in The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres, guests are invited to interact with art and nature in exciting new ways at the IMA. Along with the Indianapolis campus, the IMA also owns Miller House and Garden in Columbus, Ind., one of the nation’s most highly regarded examples of mid-century Modernist residences. For more information visit http://www.imamuseum.org.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities
National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency that supports
learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities. Created in 1965
through the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act, NEH is one of the largest
funders of humanities programs in the United States.

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Stephanie Perry
Indianapolis Museum of Art
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