The Collection

oh, canada

Canada is calling: Little-known Montreal museums.

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kid-friendly

Museums that both adults and kids will like. Only 5 CNN?

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economic census

Museum attendance is up…in case you hadn’t heard.

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data

IMA’s deaccessioning database.

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hello beautiful

Love architecture? Check out these 100 Flickr collections.

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regulators

State regulation of museum deaccessioning?

This Week in History

This Week In History: The Only Thing to Appreciate is Art Itself

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Happy Birthday NGA! On March 17, 1941, FDR took some time off from his Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations to officially open the National Gallery of Art. Officially established – in response to a gift by Andrew Mellon – back in 1937 by Congress for the people of the United States, the National Gallery is home to countless works of art and plenty of history.  While it would be easy to spend hours drinking in the art in the galleries, the presence of fountains, greenery, comfortable seating, a spacious bookstore and food court make the museum quite a relaxing place to spend an afternoon.

Here are some interesting factoids about this still young septuagenarian:

  • The NGA’s original structure (now known as the West Building) was designed by John Russell Pope. The same John Russell Pope that would later go on to design the Jefferson Memorial.
  • When the museum opened in 1941, it was the largest marble structure in the world. (Pat on the back to whoever can name the current one.)
  • The NGA’s West Building is built atop the former site of the 6th Street railway station, which counts the assassination of President Garfield in 1881 among its claims to fame.
  • The East Building, which is home to the museum’s modern collection, was designed by I.M. Pei and was opened by President Carter in 1978.
  • The NGA is not an official member of the Smithsonian Institution. Rather, it is one of at least 90 other Smithsonian “affiliate museums.” However, like other Smithsonian Institutions, admission is free.
  • The 1st major exhibition was “Two Hundred American Watercolors.”
  • In 1942, the most valuable items in the museum’s collection were evacuated to the Biltmore House in North Carolina for safekeeping. They were not returned to the NGA until 1944.
  • The Mona Lisa was exhibited at the NGA in 1963, playing host to heads of state and ordinary visitors alike.

In spite of its illustrious past – or perhaps in keeping with it – the NGA has taken great steps to make itself relevant in the present. By really embracing the Internet, visitors can find plenty of information online to help them either plan out their visit in advance or enhance their experience after they have left the galleries. Online resources include scavenger hunts that you can download and bring with you (one for every age group); visitor guides to help you tailor your visit; audio, video, and musical podcasts; educational resources for educators, parents, and kids; audio tours; online tours that you can explore by collection, artist, art work, or theme; and a section entitled NGAKids.

The National Gallery has opened its doors in more than a virtual sense. Its on-site programming includes: Food for Thought, which is described as “a seminar-style luncheon discussion of art history readings;” to gallery talks; an ice skating rink (winter) and Friday jazz concerts (summer) in the outdoor sculpture garden; films; Saturday teen art studios; and the Sunday concert series, which is now in its 67th season. There is always something going on at the NGA, so if you’re not really an art buff, there still might be an event that interests you. Check the museum website, collection, and  calendar for more details.

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The Collection

riveting

Liminal: A Question of Position opens tonight at Rivington Place.

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really?

Presenting fishy water. I mean, the 4D experience at the NY Aquarium.

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talkies

D.C. museum lectures

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