The Public Design Commission maintains an archive of projects reviewed by the Commission since 1902, documenting more than 7000 sites throughout New York City and providing a unique view into the history of the City’s public works. Containing original documents, drawings, photographs, and architectural plans, the Archive informs the Commission’s review of current projects and provides a valuable resource to researchers.
In addition, the Archive holds special collections that were acquired by Commission members and staff. These photographs, postcards, letters, books, and artifacts provide additional insight into the history of the public spaces and buildings of New York City.
In 2013, the Commission launched a long-term preservation project to digitize the oldest and most fragile materials in the collection, increasing public access to these historic documents while preserving the originals in appropriate archival conditions. Selections from the Archive are uploaded regularly to Flickr and Tumblr.
The Public Design Commission offers free tours of the Archive every other month for individuals.
The Design Commission Archive tour includes a discussion of the archive’s function and mission, a tour of the facility, and a discussion of archival materials, including architectural drawings, photographs, and original project applications and correspondence. Learn more about the Archive.
Reservation tours of the archive are offered every other month. Tours are limited to 20 individuals and reservations must be made in advance. The next tour date is listed below.