In Spring 2017, the Taubman College Gallery hosted a physical exhibition entitled “Persistent Pasts: The Bicentennial Campus as Archive.” Combining historical research and analysis from the students in Sarah Rovang’s “The Curated Campus” graduate seminar and the design output of Steven Mankouche’s “What If” Options Studio, Persistent Pasts reflected on the University of Michigan’s campus as a repository of memory. Coinciding with the University’s Bicentennial year, this exhibition asked how past traditions, tensions, and technologies have left material or cultural traces on campus space today. By revealing rarely examined aspects of the historical university alongside radical designs for an unrealized present, “Persistent Pasts” invited visitors to question entrenched conceptions of what UM should and could be, architecturally and institutionally. 

This web exhibition presents key elements of “Persistent Pasts” in a digital space, using mapping and visualization technologies developed by the Knight Foundation and ArcGIS. Each of the projects from “The Curated Campus” has been reimagined in this new format, incorporating bonus archival material and process notes that did not appear in the original exhibition. As an additional element of this digital archive, we have also visualized other Bicentennial initiatives as spatial and architectural elements across a map of the UM campus, associating events, other exhibitions, and ongoing programs with the departments or organizations that sponsor them. This “spatial archive” allows viewers to instantly access Bicentennial projects across Central, Medical, and North Campuses. 

This digital exhibition is supported by a Bicentennial Activity Grant, co-authored by Claire Zimmerman and Sarah Rovang. Digital exhibition design by Sarah Carter and Tyler Schaafsma. 


This exhibit is supported by a Bicentennial Activity Grant. We also wish to thank the Bentley Historical Library; Architecture, Engineering and Construction; the Art, Architecture, & Engineering Library; Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum; the Taubman College Media Center; Duderstadt Center; Cranbrook Academy of the Arts; the Taubman College Facilities crew and the following individuals: Michael Abrahamson, Kevin Adkisson, Monir Azarmnia, Nancy Bartlett, Dustin Brugmann, Jana Cephas, Katee Cole, Brian Dunnigan, Rover Grese, Martha Jones, Elizabeth Keslacy, Terry McDonald, Aprille Mckay, David Michener, Liz Momblanco, Malgosia Myc, Cinda Nofziger, Asa Peller, Rebecca Price, Martinus Setiawan, Michelle Smay, Rebecca Smith, MaryAnn Wilkenson, Robert Ziegelman, and Claire Zimmerman.