ver 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 citizensamateur 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.
Original design for "Be Patriotic"
Sketch for the Great Seal of the United States