Historic Preservation of Interiors: Collaborating with Public to Rehabilitate Sigourney Carnegie Library

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Li, Albert
Hills, Amanda
Bixby, Hannah
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Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression
Iowa State University Conferences and Symposia

The Symposium provides undergraduates from all academic disciplines with an opportunity to share their research with the university community and other guests through conference-style oral presentations. The Symposium represents part of a larger effort of Iowa State University to enhance, support, and celebrate undergraduate research activity.

Though coordinated by the University Honors Program, all undergraduate students are eligible and encouraged to participate in the Symposium. Undergraduates conducting research but not yet ready to present their work are encouraged to attend the Symposium to learn about the presentation process and students not currently involved in research are encouraged to attend the Symposium to learn about the broad range of undergraduate research activities that are taking place at ISU.

The first Symposium was held in April 2007. The 39 students who presented research and their mentors collectively represented all of ISU's Colleges: Agriculture and Life Sciences, Business, Design, Engineering, Human Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, and the Graduate College. The event has grown to regularly include more than 100 students presenting on topics that span the broad range of disciplines studied at ISU.

Interior Design

In 2014, Iowa State University’s (ISU’s) Historic Preservation of Interiors class (ARTID 469D/569D) collaborated with community members and the State Historic Preservation Office to propose concepts for rehabilitation of the Sigourney Carnegie Library. Research shows that the library is historically significant to Iowa because it manifests an international phenomenon of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that advocated cultural advancement through publicly shared and free literary resources and facilities. It is one of more than 2000 libraries founded within four decades and funded by American industrialist Andrew Carnegie. The Sigourney Carnegie Library served local residents for over 90 years, until a new public library replaced it. In 2013, Sue Winters acquired the library and sought assistance from ISU’s College of Design to convert its function to a residence. The process produced extensive historical documentation, ten preservation-sensitive solutions, and a collaborative research model of benefit to academia and communities.