About the Archives

Michael amassed a vast archive dating back to the early ’60s (client files, print collateral, project samples, street photography), covering decades of museum exhibits, design history, cultural and political history, Boston city government, and more. The archives are currently managed by Jess Sand and Zoe Donahue, Michael’s daughters. Our long-term goal is to get this collection safely preserved, then online and publicly accessible here.

The physical collection consists of the following materials:

  • Documents, objects, and artwork: est. 50 linear feet
  • Video and audio cassettes: est. 16 cubic feet
  • 35mm slide negatives: est. 19 cubic feet

Physical materials are currently in storage in Massachusetts, and undigitized. If you or someone you know might be interested in housing the files or assisting with preservation or digitization, please get in touch.

In the meantime, we’re slowly but steadily cataloging approximately 15,000 digital images that Michael converted from his slides several years before his death. These images depict many of his projects, associates, and other subjects. Additionally, there are several thousand undigitized slides in the physical archives.

At last count, known images span approximately 50 clients (give or take a dozen image sets that may or may not be client work), and 128 individual projects.

See the draft finding aid for a description of the entire collection.

Using images or other content from the archives

All content on the site is copyrighted by the Michael Sand Estate and respective copyright holders. We welcome the limited use of some material for educational purposes, but ask that you please let us know in advance which material you’d like to use and how. You may not use the material for commercial purposes (if you’d like to license any of the images in the collection, contact us for details).

Gathering accurate records

Not all of the images in the archives represent work done by Michael. If you see project photos that you recognize or were part of (or if you feel you have a copyright claim on any of the images), please consider sending us any details you can.

A note about language and subject matter in the collection

This collection reflects the work and perspective of Michael Sand. Michael’s approach to design was sometimes considered provocative, in that he often addressed controversial subject matter, challenged common perspectives, and invited open discussion and experiences among museum visitors of all ages, genders, and races. The materials date back to the early 1960s and reflect the times in which they were originally produced. They’re presented in their original form for informational and educational purposes. As such, they may include original language and imagery that fall outside today’s standards of inclusion and cultural respect. The collection does not necessarily reflect the Michael Sand Estate’s perspective, and we’ve attempted to include editorial context and/or notation where possible to acknowledge the cultural implications of the original. We invite input and feedback on how this material is presented, particularly from communities represented in the collection.

About the website

The site itself is produced by Jess (Michael’s youngest daughter), with extremely limited knowledge of front-end coding and using as many open source tools as possible:

Visit Jess’ blog to read about how she got started with the project.