The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Posts tagged with: slideshow
On this day in 1972, the Renwick Gallery opened to the public. The Renwick serves as the home of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s craft and decorative art program. The collections, exhibition programs and publications put forth by the Renwick highlight the best craft objects and decorative arts from the 19th century to the present. Presently closed for renovations, the Renwick will get a completely renewed infrastructure, enhanced historic features, and other upgrades such as an all LED lighting system. For now, until it reopens, here is a look at some historic images of the Renwick.
- James Renwick, Jr., Architect of Smithsonian Buildings, Stories from the Smithsonian, Smithsonian Institution Archives
Before the Grand Canyon was made a National Park (1919) and before President Theodore Roosevelt placed the Grand Canyon under public protection by declaring it a national monument on January 11, 1908, the Smithsonian was interested in this natural wonder. In fact the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Joseph Henry wrote to Representative, later President of the United States, James A. Garfield in 1870 to urge that Congress fund John Wesley Powell's continued exploration of the Grand Canyon. Which they did with Congress appropriating $12,000 for Powell's expedition. Additionally in 1903 the fourth Smithsonian Secretary Charles Doolittle Walcott and his family traveled to the Grand Canyon. In honor of this UNESCO World Heirtage Site are some images of the visits to the canyon by Powell and the Walcotts.
- Record Unit 7004 - Charles D. Walcott Collection, 1851-1940 and undated, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Record Unit 7177 - George P. Merrill Collection, circa 1800-1930 and undated, Smithsonian Institution Archives
On December 5, 1961 the Smithsonian announced that Alice Pike Barney's Studio House was donated to the Smithsonian by her daughters Natalie and Laura Barney. Alice Pike Barney was an American painter born in 1857 in Ohio. During the late 1800s, she spent time in Paris where she studied painting and began a salon in the home she rented there. When Barney returned to her home in Washington, D.C., she put a lot of effort into turning the city into a center for the arts. She had solo shows at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and other major galleries. After her death in 1931, the Studio House became the property of her two daughters, who donated it to the Smithsonian in 1961. In 1976, the house was opened as part of the National Museum of American Art, now the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In April 1995 the Alice Pike Barney Studio House was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The house remained in the possession of the Smithsonian until 1999, and it now serves as the Embassy of Latvia in Washington, D.C.
- Barney House given to the Smithsonian, Chronology of Smithsonian History, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Summer Wind to Ban-y-Bryn, The Bigger Picture blog, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Accession 96-153 - Alice Pike Barney Papers, 1861-1965, Smithsonian Institution Archives
Named after the two-year-old daughter of soon to be President John F. Kennedy, the Caroline began its service as the Kennedy family airplane in 1959. The twin engine Convair CV-240 was one of the first planes with cabin pressurization that was manufactured for commercial use after World War II and also holds the honor of being the first private aircraft used during a United States presidential campaign, dramatically changing the future of political campaigning. Caroline served the Kennedy family for nine years and 650,000 miles, ending her run at Washington National Airport where she was donated to the Smithsonian Institution on November 17, 1967. Senator Robert F. Kennedy presented the plane to Smithsonian Secretary S. Dillon Ripley and was accompanied by brother Edward M. Kennedy and other members of the Kennedy clan. The Caroline is currently in storage at the National Air and Space Museum’s Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility. Click through the slideshow below to see images from the presentation of the Caroline to the Smithsonian.
On July 15, 1971, President Richard Nixon announced that he would travel to the People’s Republic of China in an effort to improve diplomatic relations with the previously unrecognized government, the most adorable result of which was the gifting of giant pandas Hsing-Hsing and Ling-Ling to the National Zoological Park. We’ve told this tale before in The Bigger Picture blog post "Panda-monium!" but have prepared a slide show of the events surrounding their arrival as well as a few pictures of the cubs settling in to their new digs. See below to check out First Lady Patricia Nixon welcoming the pandas to their new home, visiting Chinese zoologists touring Smithsonian museums, and of course the stars of the show, Hsing-Hsing and Ling-Ling being their precious panda selves.
- Panda-monium!, The Bigger Picture blog, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Accession 11-009 - Smithsonian Photographic Services, Photographic Collection, 1971-2006, Smithsonian Institution Archives
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