Photo from Anna S.C. Blake school

In the late 1800s, a new method of education started taking hold in the U.S. Inspired by early Russian educational techniques and founded in Scandinavia, Sloyd, as the method was known, emphasized manual training, linked closely to European folk art traditions and the emerging Arts and Crafts movement.

One pioneering educator, Anna S.C. Blake, brought Sloyd to Santa Barbara. And the school she founded can today be traced forward through time — if by dotted line — to UC Santa Barbara. A new exhibition, open now through Dec. 20 in the UCSB Library Mountain Gallery, explores this fascinating history. Admission is free and open to the public.

“For me, the significance of Anna Blake is how a dedicated individual, working with others, can build a school that would eventually become one of the world’s great research universities,” said John Majewski, the Michael Douglas Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts at UCSB. “It is a lesson of how the institutions we create in our own lifetimes can reverberate, in completely unexpected ways, more than a century later. The values that defined Anna Blake — a commitment to public service, innovative teaching and learning, and widespread access to education — continue to shape the identity of UC Santa Barbara.”

Excerpted from an article by Shelly Leachman which appears in full in UCSB's "The Current".