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Message from Director Don Carleton

May 2017

Last month, the Briscoe Center reopened after a 14-month renovation. This was a very proudmoment for the center and a deeply satisfying event for me. It represents a game-changing enhancement of our mission. News of the reopening was picked up by the Austin American-Statesman, the Associated Press, and the majority of local TV news stations, which shows just how salient history remains. 

Don Carleton with photojournalists

To the many collection donors who joined us at the reopening celebrations (including those above) thank you.

Don with President Fenves and University Officials

Additionally, I want to thank university president Greg Fenves, provost Maurie McInnis, and the center’s advisory council chair Jane Hilfer for their speaking roles and thoughtful comments at the ribbon cutting. 

Don with Ivan Schwartz

Finally, I want to recognize Ivan Schwartz of StudioEIS, who joined me for a discussion of historical monuments as part of our reopening program. 

Normal service has now resumed at the center. Our reading room (doubled in size and fully updated) is open for researchers, classes are taking place in our meeting rooms, and visitors are perusing the exhibit galleries. We're already planning new exhibits for the upcoming year. Look out for announcements regarding a civil rights photography exhibit in the fall and a music exhibit next spring. 

Off campus, things remain as busy as ever. Center staff just wrapped up a trip to New York, where collection acquisitions were negotiated and a film project wrapped up. In regards to the latter, I want to thank Amy Villareal, a member of our council and the vice president and general manager at KEYE-TV (CBS) in Austin, for her remarkable generosity in helping the center bring this film project together. The result, a sleek, soon-to-be-released informational video about the center, would simply not have been possible without her help. An expanded version, as well as a series of vignettes will follow later in the fall. 

While in New York, the center also hosted a book launch event for our newest publication, Eddie Adams: Bigger Than the Frame. Co-published with the University of Texas, Bigger Than the Frame is drawn entirely from the Eddie Adams Photographic Archive, housed here at the center. Adams was a renowned Pulitzer Prize–winning photojournalist who forever shaped how Americans view the horrors of war. In addition to his much-praised Vietnam War photography, the book includes images that continue to resonate, including those related to immigration, conflict in the Middle East, and refugee crises. 

The launch event, kindly hosted by Alyssa Adams at her Bathhouse Studios in the East Village, was a chance to celebrate Eddie's legacy, but also to meet a number of photographers and news media professionals connected with Adams, or who are graduates of his Workshop. I'm hopeful that these connections will lead to exciting new acquisitions for the center. Historical collections remain at the heart of everything we do — the subject of our programs and digital projects, the inspiration of our exhibits and documentaries, and the reason for our reading room. That's why we go to great efforts to ensure that the center continues to expand its holdings.  

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