Lighting Project Completed At BU's Armstrong Browning Library

March 20, 2001

by Alan Hunt

The majestic stained glass windows of Baylor University's Armstrong Browning Library were illuminated by a new interior lighting system during an official "switching-on" ceremony in the evening hours of Tuesday, March 13.

The lighting system in the library's entrance foyer was provided through the Baylor/Waco Foundation's $150,000 fundraising project for 2000 in aid of Armstrong Browning Library.

"The idea of permanently illuminating some of the best stained glass came from the students themselves," said Dr. Mairi Rennie, library director and the Margaret Root Brown Chair in Robert Browning Studies. "The effect is like a great ornate lantern or beacon lighting up this end of the campus. I hope the library and its beautiful, 'jewel-like' windows will inspire and cheer those that pass by for many years ahead."

The Baylor/Waco Foundation has served as the official hometown support group for Baylor University since 1959, providing leadership to accomplish fundraising for expansion, construction and renovation projects on campus.

"After going through a year of raising funds for the campaign, getting involved in the community and then seeing a project like this come to fruition really warms the heart," said Rick Wilborn, past president of Baylor/Waco Foundation and a 1973 Baylor graduate. "It's wonderful to see all the lights up and to see the effects the light has on the stained glass."

The Baylor/Waco Foundation also provided funds for many other improvement and renovation projects through the library.

"The Baylor/Waco Foundation's wonderful support also has enabled us to refurbish drapes and cushions in the library's public rooms and design a new web site - - for the library," Rennie said. "An electronic docent system has also been developed, which allows visitors to tour the library and access relevant information from a hand-held computer. This is extremely innovative and we think one of the first uses of this sort of information technology in a museum-type environment."

The Baylor/Waco Foundation projects have been completed as a major part of the Armstrong Browning Library's Golden Jubilee celebrations for 2001. Dedicated on Dec. 2, 1951, the library houses the world's largest collection of letters, manuscripts, personal items and other materials relating to famous Victorian poets Robert Browning and his wife, Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The library and its artifacts were a life-long project for its founder, Baylor English professor Dr. A.J. Armstrong, who died March 31, 1954, two days after his 81st birthday.

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