The RBSC: for SAIC and the Public
Serving the SAIC community
Since its inception as an SAIC resource in January 1997 the RBSC has been integrally incorporated into SAIC’s artistic and academic programming. The RBSC enhances SAIC programming through undergraduate, graduate, and continuing studies class visits, use by individual students and faculty for research and inspiration, and use by SAIC and AIC departments for retreats and receptions. In addition to offering intimate access to a broad range of art in an authentic house museum setting, the RBSC offers the SAIC community the opportunity to explore many aspects of the curatorial, interpretive, and planning processes entailed in the care and ongoing use of a historic house museum with a diverse collection of art and an extensive archive.
The RBSC is a laboratory where undergraduate and graduate students, from SAIC and other schools, gain valuable, hands-on experience in the care, organization, and interpretation of a varied art collection and extensive archive in a historic structure. Students take on a high level of responsibility for collection care and preservation. Rather than working with existing systems and policies, students contribute to the formulation of many aspects of historic site management, including conducting tours of the collection to students and the public, collections care, organization, and preservation, developing policies and procedures, conducting art historical research, and many more activities. The RBSC offers a rare pedagogical experience which students value highly.
Program relevance Faculty and students, from the First Year Program to graduate seminars, use the collection to explore the microcosm of recent Chicago art within the macrocosm of art from many genres and cultures, through far more intimate experiences with works of art than most museums or special collections offer. Class and individual student visits to the RBSC are tailored to specific courses and research projects, and range from experiencing the multiplicity of the collection, to exploring specific artists, cultures, and/or genres of art in it. Students in studio classes may draw and photograph in the collection, peruse Roger Brown’s original sketchbooks, examine original prints and works on paper from the archive, among many other hands-on experiences. Students also explore the collection’s conceptual and intellectual dimensions by using it as a springboard for examination of curatorial, cultural, conceptual, art historical, and preservation issues.
Building the capacity to serve SAIC academic programming fully is a primary goal of the RBSC. RBSC staff works cooperatively with SAIC Special Collections managers and curators, to increase the efficacy of all of the School’s outstanding special collections as instructional resources. Click here for information on SAIC’s Special Collections.
Serving Public Audiences
As an Artists’ Museum that provides intimate access to a diverse range of materials in an authentic setting, the RBSC is a key destination for individuals, school groups, and museum and other professional groups from the City, the region, and from around the country.
As an educational resourcethe RBSC serves an increasing number of high school, college, and university classes. Taking advantage of the collection’s inherent diversity, educators use the collection as a springboard for exploring a wide range of topics, from specific genres in art and culture, to the creative process itself. Many educators take advantage of the fact that the RBSC exemplifies the critical relationship between artistic practice and the source materials that inspire it. As such, it’s a natural place to begin artistic and intellectual investigations of all types.
An increasing numberof artistic and scholarly communities, from within and beyond Chicago, feature the RBSC as a highlight in their programming. The RBSC has served as a key site for tours and receptions for members and staff from museums from around the country, and professional groups from the architectural, preservation, artistic, and design communities.