Mellon Teaching Sets
These photographs from Cornell's collections were developed as part of the 2017–2022 project "Crossing the Photographic Divide: Mining and Making Meaning." Funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the project focused on researching the photography holdings of Cornell University Library and the Johnson Museum of Art and launching new initiatives focused on levying photographs from both collections in teaching, scholarship, and exhibitions on campus.
One of the principal initiatives of the project was to develop digital sets of photographs on five general topics. These topics were chosen by Museum and Library staff based on the strengths of institutional holdings and curricular and public interest:
- History of photography
- Labour and work
- Asian Studies
- Inequality and the legacy of discrimination
- Landscape and the environment
Each set of photographs presents thematically relevant highlights from Cornell's collections as determined by the project curator in consultation with library colleagues and archivists. The sets are intended as pedagogical tools and to introduce the huge range and number of photographs held on campus to users. In some cases, a small group of photographs represents an entire archive, or a single photograph stands in for hundreds more by a given photographer. All the materials used in the teaching sets are part of Cornell's permanent holdings and available to campus audiences.
Photographs selected for the sets received enhanced description and were digitized and treated by conservation staff as necessary, improving their discoverability and accessibility by faculty, students, and the wider academic community.