In 1933, during the Great Depression, there was an abundance of talent not being put to the right application. Thus began a number of what some might call socialist programs; that is, federal-government-backed programs meant to stimulate the economy by redirecting not-yet-existing wealth to productive talent.
Among those progrmas was the Historic American Building Survey. The result, after 75 years of slow, steady progress, is phenomenal. Moreover, the success has generated the Historic American Engineering Record and the Historic American Landscape Survey. Take a look at the treasure trove of projects in the HABS collection. The Library of Congress highlights this milestone, beginning November 14 in Washington, D.C.
Moreover, there is a prize presented by the U.S. Department of the Interior each year to the student team that best captures in measured drawings a building, collection of buildings, or a site of historic importance. The Peterson Prize for 2008 is scheduled to be celebrated also on November 14 at the Department of Interior in Washington, D.C. (The image here is the first prize winner, a barn in Frederick, Md.)
If you have been involved in recording a project for HABS/HAER/HALS, you know what a rich experience this is. The schedule for 2009 begins in February and will be announced to schools of architecture and on the Web within the coming month, according to an Interior Department official. If you know someone skilled at creating phenomenal measured drawings, this is a program worthy of note.