Key PagesArchaeology of Rhode Island Hall |
17:00 My appointment with Belinda Johnson was at five, right after Psychological Services closed, in order to avoid any confidentiality issues. Belinda told me that Psych Services moved into the building in 1982 and took over the space that had been used by the geology department, and that she had been here since that move. I discovered that there are two levels to Psych services- the offices are on the second floor, but there is also a balcony space that is not used because it does not meet fire safety standards. One small staircase located in the middle of the second floor area leads up to the balcony, and this is the only exit from the balcony area, which is what makes it unsafe in case of a fire. Belinda told me that the balcony that runs around and looks down onto the office area was previously used by the geology grad students as their study area. There is still one of the divisions that marked out their cubicals. Before the geology department, I think this was where the museum specimens were located, and it is likely that this is where all the archival photos were taken from. My most exciting discovery was a desk/filing cabinet that Belinda said had been left by the geology department, and that is filled with old charts and maps from as far back as 1904. I am definitely going back to look at these in more detail and see exactly what has been left.
The door leading off from the balcony area overlooking the offices leads to a separate space. Belinda said that for a while the space had been used by BOLT (Brown Outdoor Leadership Training) which accounts for the hooks that are at head height around the walls. There is an anteroom type space, and then a main space which at one point would have been a balcony overlooking the classroom below in a similar fashion to the other balcony. However the classroom that had been below was converted into office/consulting space for Psych Services, and so ceilings were put in, and the filled in space insulated with foam. It could have been this balcony space rather than the previous one that was where the archival photographs were taken (they might also both feature in the photos). An interesting legacy of the old balcony arrangement is the way the windows are cut off on each floor, with just the top showing in the balcony space, and the top being cut off in the offices below. One other discovery was the door on the far side of this space that opens onto the mini balcony visible from the second floor corridor out side Psych Services and classroom 201. At one point this led to a balcony that continued through 201, but as I had seen before the door leads nowhere in 201, and was locked from the balcony side.
I finished up my visit by photographing the second floor offices. I did not cover them all, or in great detail, just enough to give a sense of the space, and depending on how I decide to follow up the project, I may return and cover the area in more detail.
Belinda also showed me her office, which turned out to have an interesting story. As the third floor of the 1904 extension, the room was originally a space for preparing skeletons. When Psych services moved in in 1982, it was the only room not used by the geology department and it was the office of Jay Barry. He had been writing "Gentlemen Under the Elms: A Tribute to Eleven of Brown's Faculty of the Past that was published in the Brown Alumni Magazine in 1982. According to Belinda, the room was in good enough condition that they were able to just repaint it, and not renovate it like the rest of the space. Belinda also had managed to find some photos from 1989 when Psych Services renovated their space. This is such valuable archival material, and I'm so glad she was willing to let me use them. I am grateful not only for her willingness to give up her time and show me around, but also for her knowledge of the space, and her sincere interest in the project. This visit was long overdue, and so valuable to my understanding of the building.
14:00 I photo-documented classroom 201, but I didn't finish because my camera ran out of battery.
12:15 I returned to finish photographing classroom 201.
photolog- Psychological Services