The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Category: Smithsonian History
As some of you may know the Smithsonian American Art Museum was originally known as the National Gallery of Art. It bore this name from 1907 till 1937. At that time the museum had to change its name to the National Collection of Fine Arts when its former name (National Gallery of Art) was assigned to the collection donated by Andrew W. Mellon to the United States. In 1980 it changed names again to the National Museum of American Art and then finally in 2000 to the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
It was not until 1968 that the museum found a permanent home at the old Patent Office Building. Before then the collections were exhibited in the Art Room at the Smithsonian Institution Building, as well as in the Arts and Industries Building and at the National Museum of Natural History. In the slideshow, you will find the poster for the opening of the museum at the old Patent Office Building in 1968 and a selection of various exhibition and program posters, both from the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery.
- Record Unit 452: National Museum of American Art, Office of Exhibition and Design, Exhibition Records, 1975-1981, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Accession 97-036: National Collection of Fine Arts, Office of Public Affairs, Publicity Records, 1968, Smithsonian Institution Archives