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The Smithsonian Institution's Arts and Industries Building is under consideration to house the proposed National African-American Museum. This potential conversion of the A & I Building has sparked interest in studying the relationship between A & I architect Adolf Cluss and Karl Marx. Research shows that Cluss met Marx in Brussels; he became active in the communist league, and participated in the 1848 democratic revolutions in Germany. Cluss came to the United States the following year, however, and by the mid-1850's his political fervor dwindled as his architectural career soared. The author states that communist organizations in Cluss' time supported abolition of slavery and notes that if converted, A & I would fittingly join a number of other Cluss-designed buildings that provided public spaces for African-Americans.


  • Marx, Karl
  • Cluss, Adolph 1825-1905
  • Arts and Industries Building


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography


Article includes one photograph of Adolf Cluss and others at the A&I Building during construction.

Contained within

Smithsonian Preservation Quarterly (Newsletter)

Contact information

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


Summer 1993


  • Architects
  • National African American Museum Project
  • Biography

Physical description

pgs. 3-5

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