National Gallery of Art Officially Created

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The National Gallery of Art, now the Smithsonian American Art Museum, achieves official status as part of the Smithsonian Institution. This occurs when the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia decrees that the pictures, miniatures, and other articles bequeathed by Harriet Lane Johnston should become the property of the National Art Gallery . Johnston's will left the collection to the Corcoran Gallery of Art, unless the United States government established a National Gallery of Art. The Smithsonian, therefore, formally establishes the National Gallery of Art to receive the collection. As a result of this decree, the collection, consisting of 31 pieces, is delivered to the Smithsonian Institution on August 3, 1906.


  • Corcoran Gallery of Art
  • National Collection of Fine Arts)
  • National Gallery of Art of the Smithsonian)
  • National Museum of American Art (U.S.)
  • Smithsonian Gallery of Art
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1906. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1907, p. 33-34.
  • Guide to Smithsonian Archives. Archives and Special Collections of the Smithsonian Institution Number 4. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1983, p. 115.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


July 11, 1906


  • Art
  • Actions and defenses
  • Museums
  • Gifts
  • History
  • Art--History
  • Art objects
  • Museum exhibits

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