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Thursday, June 19, 2014

On Becoming a National Museum – 50th Anniversary of the National Museum of African Art

NMAfA Pavilion , 1987, by Jeff Tinsley, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 87-7812-36.

The National Museum of African Art (NMAfA) is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Although it did not join the Smithsonian until 1979 and move to its present home in 1987, it was established in 1964 as a private museum at the initiative of Warren Robbins.  These images look back at the museum in the years since it joined the Smithsonian Institution.

Six children, visiting the National Museum of African Art, listen to Amina Dickerson, program director, at the museum in 1978, photographer unknown, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 96-1008.
 At the National Museum of African Art, Legani Kaunda, an artist-in-residence, is at work sculpting from wood a long pipe with a hinged bottom for the tobacco, 1980, by Jeffrey Ploskonka, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 80-16887-37.

Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, Vice President George Bush, and Secretary S. Dillon Ripley at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Quadrangle Complex, June 21, 1983. The complex includes the National Museum of African Art, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, and the S. Dillon Ripley Center, photographer unknown, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 83-6885.12.  

The National Museum of African Art under construction. The photograph shows workers adding copper covering on the domes and the pink granite on the sides of the building. The hexagonal patio in the foreground, still under construction, will be the centerpiece of an Islamic garden with a waterfall, central water jet and seating walls shaded by eight hawthorn trees, 1986, by Jeff Tinsley, Smithsonian Institution Archives, sia85-5103-16.

Beatrice Birra dressed in traditional African clothing tells stories to an audience of children at the National Museum of African Art, July 15, 2005, by Anthony Cross, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 2005-22813.

Pamela Henson, Smithsonian Institution Archives

1 comment:

  1. Where exactly is this located? I would love to visit it together with my girlfriend from Kenya.