Smithsonian Collections Blog

Highlighting the hidden treasures from over 2 million collections

Collections Search Center

Monday, May 6, 2013

Spring: A Time for New Beginnings

Garnett McCoy and Arthur Breton at the
Archives of American Art, 1979,
Smithsonian Institution Archives,
Negative Number: SIA79-12086-14
When May arrives, we are often struck with spring fever and energy to begin new projects. While many Smithsonian programs were initiated at the beginning of the calendar year or the beginning of the fiscal year, the beginning of May has also been a time to start new projects and programs, especially in the arts and outreach.

Freer Gallery of Art, 1923,
Smithsonian Institution Archives,
Negative Number: SIA2007-0171
On May 1, 1970, the Archives of American Art formally joined the Smithsonian Institution as a bureau, with regional branch offices in New York, Detroit, San Francisco, and Washington, and field offices in Boston and Santa Fe. The Archives was founded in 1954 in Detroit as an independent research institution committed to encouraging and aiding scholarship in the visual arts in this country from the 18th century to the present.

On May 2, 1923, the Freer Gallery of Art opened to the public. The Asian and American art collection was donated by Charles Lang Freer in 1906, along with an endowment for the construction and maintenance of a museum. For the opening week, 3,300 invitations were issued, and between May 9 and June 30, the total attendance was 32,648 visitors.

Courtyard Entrance of the NCFA, 1968,
Smithsonian Institution Archives,
Negative Number: 92-1777
On May 3, 1968, the National Collection of Fine Arts, now the Smithsonian American Art Museum, was dedicated, having moved out of the Natural History Building and into the Old Patent Office Building, which had been vacated by the Civil Service Commission. At the dedication, President and Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson were escorted through the galleries by Secretary and Mrs. S. Dillon Ripley. The public opening was on May 6.

Home Page of the Smithsonian's First Website, 1995
On May 5, 1997, Secretary I. Michael Heyman announced the establishment of a Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives. Now known as the Smithsonian Latino Center, it works pan-institutionally with the entire network of Smithsonian museums, research centers, programs and almost 200 affiliates nationwide to ensure that Latino culture, achievement and contributions are celebrated and recognized. The Center ensures that Latino contributions to the arts, sciences, and humanities are highlighted, understood, and advanced through the development and support of public programs, research, museum collections, and educational opportunities at the Smithsonian Institution.

And on May 8, 1995, the Smithsonian Institution launched its Home Page ( on the World Wide Web. The site was officially opened with a demonstration in House Speaker Newt Gingrich's office. The site contained more than 1,500 electronic pages and included overviews in Spanish, German, and French. Within the first twenty-four hours, the page received about 100,000 hits.

What new things will May 2013 bring to the Smithsonian?

No comments:

Post a Comment