During the height of the Cold War, the US government used architecture and exhibition design to communicate a robust sense of America’s national identity and values to tens of millions of visitors at international exhibitions and World’s Fairs around the world.
Today, as the US government’s sponsorship of architecture and design as a tools of American public and cultural diplomacy is in sharp decline, the Masey Archives houses photographs, drawings, text documents, film and other materials that detail how architecture and design often came to be America’s interlocutor abroad during the second half of the 20th century.
The Masey Archives’ core collection consists of materials associated with the US government’s international design projects led by Jack Masey, a former US Foreign Service officer who was design chief for many major USIA international exhibitions mounted between 1955 and 1976 and, subsequently, Director of Design for the United States Information Agency (USIA).
A second group of photographic and textual materials in the Masey Archives details exhibition projects in the United States at national monuments and museums. These projects, managed by Jack Masey, were undertaken by the exhibition design firm MetaForm, Inc., between 1979 and 2001, often in collaboration with Chermayeff & Geismar, Inc.