Constellation Center

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Library & Archives

Introduction to the Project


History of the ConstellationCenter Library
While the Collection has been growing since the beginning of our project, the inception of the library can be dated to September 2005 when cataloging began.  Before this point, the Collection was arranged into general categories reflecting our research interests: acoustics, architecture, film history, etc. It is now cataloged according to standard cataloging practices and arranged according to the Library of Congress organization system.  This process took nine months and resulted in a complete re-organization of the library. The cataloging provided new points of access to the materials in the library.  We now have an electronic catalog similar to ones found in a public library or university. 

The ConstellationCenter Library has two purposes: to provide resources for our ongoing research and design process, and to document the design process itself.  The Collection represents the ten years of research that has gone into our five halls so far, and will continue to expand and reflect the progress and interests of the Center as we move towards breaking ground and opening.

We have over 2400 individual items in our collection: 1408 of those are books and dissertations, 732 are CDs and DVDs.  We also have 130 in-house produced reports which document our own research. We subscribe to sixty-five periodicals on topics ranging from acoustics and physics to American history, early music, and the theater organ and film industries.  In addition to our physical library, we also have a digital library of over 10,000 photographs taken on our research trips to the great halls of Europe and America.  These statistics represent what we have in our Cambridge office; ConstellationCenter also owns over 200 films that are housed at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Film Archive in Los Angeles, California.

The Collection itself is broad yet highly specialized. We have books on everything from Byzantine coins to theoretical mechanics to Peter the Great; however, the majority of our holdings lies in two major categories, music and architecture.  The great strength of our library is in our highly specialized sub-collections.  For instance, we have superb holdings on many facets of Baroque opera: the staging, the theaters, the composers, the set designers, the patrons, and theoretical treatises.  These holdings are supplemented by a number of recordings of modern productions of Baroque operas.  A recent research project has focused on historical plaster necessitating the creation of what is now an excellent collection on the methods of plaster production and its use from the ancient Roman period to today. 

Other collections in our library that are unique include:       

On all of our research trips we make a special point of collecting materials from the sites that we visit.  Often, some of the most useful resources for our purposes are only available at the sites themselves.  For instance, small churches often self-publish books not available through most booksellers, detailing the use and architectural development of the building through the ages.  These books provide immensely useful information that might significantly influence the design and placement of our organs.  This method of expanding the library is a compelling component of the overall design process. In collecting resource material from the sites themselves, as well as conducting our own acoustic research, we are attaining new levels of understanding about the design of performance spaces.
We continue to actively add to our library in all of the fields mentioned above and in new fields as directed by our research.  Once ConstellationCenter is completed, the library will be both a documentation of our design process and an aid for external researchers.


Interior shot of Mariefred,
Gripsholm Castle, Sweden

Column detail at Waalse Kerk,
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Detailed shot of Georgenkirche,
Rötha, Germany

Detailed shot of Marienkirche,
Rötha, Germany

43 Thorndike Street
Suite 301
Cambridge, MA
Tel 617.939.1900 Fax 617.939.0190