Design For Democracy :  200 Years of Drawings from the National Archives
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Letter O Drop Capver the course of its history, the U. S. Government has prepared, commissioned, received, or approved designs for millions of objects. From bridges to ships, from forts to flags, from monuments to costumes, the Federal Government has had a hand in the artistic and utilitarian outcome of myriad projects. These designs were created in fulfillment of a wide range of Federal policies and programs. Each represents the Government`s need for a rendering of an object. Most were the inspiration of professional artists, engineers, inventors, draftsmen, and graphic artists. A few were submitted by citizens—amateur designers who wanted to share their imaginative ideas with their Government.

"Designs for Democracy" is an exhibition of nearly 125 design drawings selected from the vast holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration and its Presidential Libraries. The designs, all permanently valuable Federal records, were selected to illustrate 200 years of Government drawings. They are also works of art. Displayed here are elegant watercolor paintings, exquisite ink and wash drawings, bold charcoal and pencil sketches, and finely executed engineering details. Some bear a well-known designer`s or artist`s signature or the imprimatur of approving Government officials, but many are unsigned and their creators unknown. This exhibit is organized chronologically to demonstrate changing styles and technological advances, as well as to illustrate the evolving role of the Federal Government in American life.

Citations for left side images:
"Washington Monument Project for a Marble Pyramidion"
By Bernard Green, January 19, 1884 Ink on paper, linen backed
36 1/4" x 23 1/2"
National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the National Park Service

Original design for "Be Patriotic" poster
By Paul Stahr, ca. 1917-18 Gouache on paper
27 7/8 " x 20"
Herbert Hoover Library, National Archives and Records Administration

Sketch for the Great Seal of the United States
By Francis Hopkinson, May 10, 1780
Pencil and ink on paper
7 3/8" x 6 3/8"
National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Continental and Confederation Congresses and the Constitutional Convention

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