Funny what can happen in a couple weeks. In late September I was corresponding with Matthew Wittmer, an artist and librarian living in Los Angeles, whom I've gotten to know well over the past year because of this project, and mentioned in passing that he should donate his model of Mt. Carmel to us. Turns out, it currently didn't have a home (beyond his closet), and he was willing to consider it. He had thought about Baylor's The Texas Collection in the past, but they have a policy against acquiring artwork. He said he hadn't even thought about donating it to us before, since we're a writers' collection.
But, as various acquisition efforts, including the Lee Hancock Collection, have shown, Waco has taken on a life of its own around here. I ran the idea by our curators and got the green light. Then, this past Monday morning I received an e-mail from Matthew, saying his parents were visiting him in L.A. and could drive across I-10 on their way to Houston and deliver the model (in three specially-made crates) free of charge. Next thing I knew, they were at my doorstep with the crates!
Here is a photo of and an excerpt about the model, from Matthew's webpage, "Memorializing Mount Carmel Center in Waco, Texas":
"Through developing observational drawings from video footage and photos of the complex, I constructed a model of the building to better understand the layout and function it provided the community, which is the model pictured in the photos on this web page. I also designed it to serve as a memorial to those who lost their lives during the events of 1993. The model was eventually installed on the Mt. Carmel property where a Visitor’s Center Museum was created and in operation between 1998 and 2006. The Visitor's Center Museum was managed by the survivors and a local supporter up until March of 2006. During that time it exhibited artifacts from the building, surviving photos of the life at the center prior to the siege, donated photos from family and friends of residents who belonged to the community, and defense exhibit photographs of the property and events/agents present throughout the siege. Tens of thousands of people traveling through the area have visited the property since 1993 and continue to visit to this day. My model served the survivors as a historical aid on the property from December of 2000 to September of 2006, much to the thanks of Clive and Edna Doyle who lived on the property at the time (Edna passed away in the summer of 2001) and expressed their desire for a model in their center. A mutual friend, Rollin, graciously helped in coordinating the installation process."
We're very excited Matthew has trusted us with his artistic and accurate rendering of Mt. Carmel, especially since the model has that connection to the visitor's center there. Also, in the Reavis Papers there is a postcard that Matthew made with a picture of the model on it, as well as a copy of line etchings of the model. You can view both of those in the digital collection. And Matt said he has old correspondence from Reavis, who initially gave Matt Clive's contact information. See, it all ties together!