Diorama of Radcliffe Yard, 1978
This diorama of Radcliffe Yard was constructed in 1978 for the Radcliffe College centennial. It represents a view of the Yard as it was in 1879, at Radcliffe’s founding. A group of volunteers and artists designed and constructed the diorama based on historical photographs and plans from 1873 and 1886 showing the foundations of long-ago structures. While dioramas seem a quaint and dated curiosity, there is a wealth of history represented here.
Picture yourself standing on Garden Street, looking toward the Yard, long before the brick wall was erected. The building in the foreground on the right is Fay House. The Schlesinger Library now stands in the area where the yellow house is located. In addition to Fay House, two other buildings still exist: Buckingham, two buildings to the left of the yellow house, and Putnam, to the left of the large purple house near Brattle Street. Greenleaf, across Brattle Street, can be glimpsed in the background on the painted backdrop. The diorama invites us to contemplate the fate of these structures and the transformation to Radcliffe College. An installation in the Wallach Garden in Radcliffe Yard from 2017 to 2019, winner of the third cycle of the Radcliffe Institute Public Art Competition, is a representation of structures that once occupied 73 Brattle Street (the purple house mentioned above).
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Read about the winning art installation by Radcliffe Institute Public Art Competition cycle 3 winner: 100+ Years at 73 Brattle by John Wang '16
100+ Years at 73 Brattle | John Wang || Radcliffe Institute: