Agency history, 1920-

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  • Cahill, James 1926-2014
  • So, Jenny F
  • Fu, Shen 1937-
  • Lovell, Hin-cheung
  • Lodge, John Ellerton 1876-1942
  • Lawton, Thomas 1931-
  • Stuart, Jan 1955-
  • Wenley, A. G (Archibald Gibson) 1898-1962
  • Bishop, Carl Whiting 1881-1942
  • Chang, Joseph
  • Trousdale, William
  • Allee, Stephen D
  • Wilson, J. Keith
  • Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Office of the Director
  • Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Chief Curator
  • Freer Gallery of Art
  • Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Curatorial - Ceramics
  • Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Senior Research Scholar
  • Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (Smithsonian Institution)


Agency History


  • This is an agency history. It does not describe actual records. The Smithsonian Institution Archives uses these histories as brief accounts of the origin, development, and functions of an office or administrative unit to set that unit in its historical context. To find information on record holdings, please double-click the highlighted field "Creator/Author", which will open on a brief view of relevant records.
  • Beyond the Legacy, 1920-1998
  • Smithsonian Annals, 1920-1997
  • Smithsonian Directory, 1999
  • Curatorship of the Chinese art collection of the Freer Gallery of Art began in 1920, when the first Director, John Ellerton Lodge was hired. During the period when Lodge and his staff curated the Far Eastern art collections, the curatorial staff was small, curatorial areas and titles were less defined, and visiting curators were used to help maintain the collection. Both Lodge and Archibald Gibson Wenley, the following Director, were American pioneers in Chinese art, language, and history and used their expertise to study and make additions to the Chinese art collection during their tenures.
  • Lodge and his staff curated the Far Eastern art collections from 1920 to 1942, when he died. Notable on this staff was Carl Whiting Bishop who made two trips to China in the interest of creating a more favorable environment for American research. He was Associate Curator, 1929-1934, and Assistant in Archeology from 1934 until his death in 1942. One of Bishop's field assistants in China was Wenley, who was undergoing an intensive, seven-year education program in Far Eastern arts and language designed by Lodge himself. Wenley served as Associate in Research, 1942-1943 and Director, 1943-1962. James Cahill served as Associate Curator, Chinese Art, 1956-1965. Then William Trousdale was Associate Curator, Chinese Art from 1965-1967. Next, Thomas Lawton served as Assistant Curator, Chinese Art, 1968-1969; Associate Curator, Chinese Art, 1969-1970; Curator, Chinese Art, 1970-1972; Assistant Director, 1972-1977; and Director, 1977-1987. Lawton retired in 1987 in order to focus on the study of Ancient Chinese art, which he continued to do as Senior Research Scholar from 1987 to 2001. Hin-cheung Lovell served as Assistant Curator, Chinese Art, 1969-1974, and Associate Curator, Chinese Art, 1974-1979. Shen Fu was Associate Curator, Chinese Art from 1979-1983, and Curator, Chinese Art, 1983-1994. Jan Stuart became Assistant Curator, Chinese Art in 1988 and served until 2006. Stuart returned to be the Melvin R. Seiden Curator of Chinese Art in 2014. Jenny F. So served as Associate Curator, Ancient Chinese Art from 1990 until she advanced to Curator, 1996-2001. Joseph Chang was associate curator for Chinese art, c. 1997-2010. Stephen D. Allee is the associate curator for Chinese painting and calligraphy and joined the museum in 1988. J. Keith Wilson is the curator of ancient Chinese art and started at the museum in 2006. Incumbents of Curatorial - Chinese Art report to the Chief Curator.
  • Curatorial - Chinese Art conducts research; publishes; lectures; studies and translates texts, seals, and artifacts; and provides expert opinions on provenance, age, quality, and other significance of the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery artifacts of Chinese art. Research and lectures take place both in these galleries and in other research sites in this country and abroad. Some of the study of Far Eastern ceramics was done separately by Curatorial - Ceramics and its predecessors.
  • For a history of the larger creating unit, refer to "Forms part of " above.

Repository Loc.

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Capital Gallery, Suite 3000, MRC 507; 600 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20024-2520


  • 1920
  • 1920-


  • Art
  • Art museums
  • Art museum curators
  • Art, Chinese


Mixed archival materials

Local number

SIA AH00324

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