Archive for the Museums Category

Unrealized Dreams: Renwick’s Unsuccessful Design Submission of 1846

Posted in Gothic Revival, Mall (The), Museums, Renwick, James (1818-1895) with tags , , , , , on June 9, 2009 by Kent

Smithsonian Design Renwick
(Image from Smithsonian Institution)


Lost Washington: the Army Medical Museum

Posted in Lost Washington, Mall (The), Museums with tags , , , on May 21, 2009 by Kent

Army Medical MuseumThe brick Romanesque Revival building originally located at the northwest corner of 7th and Independence, SW, was the successor to the Ford’s Theatre facility. Opened in 1887, it was designed and built to house the Army Medical Museum, the Library of the Surgeon General’s Office, and some of the medical records.

Army Medical Museum. Interior view. First floor west side. Hook worm display.

Army Medical Museum. Interior view. First floor west side. Hook worm display.

Between 1893 and 1910, it also housed the Army Medical School. The Museum and the Library remained in this location until the 1960s, when they were moved to their present separate locations.

Even though the structure had been listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings, the Interior Department redefined its status, claiming that the collection of medical specimens within constituted the building’s importance.

Army Medical Museum. Main exhibit hall. 1942.

Army Medical Museum. Main exhibit hall. 1942.

The building was razed in 1969 and replaced by the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

The Army Medical Museum evolved into the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and the National Museum of Health and Medicine, Washington, D.C., and the Library of Surgeon General’s Office became the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD. (Additionally Photos after the jump) Continue reading

End of Greene & Greene Exhibit Nearing

Posted in Art & Architecture, Museums with tags , , , , on May 21, 2009 by Kent

Greene & GreeneIf you love the Arts and Crafts Movement, decorative arts, or merely artistically and well designed home furnishings, you may want to head over to the Renwick Gallery before this exhibit ends on June 7.

It is a very managable exhibit and can easily be viewed over a couple of lunch hours if you work in the neighborhood.

Greene & Greene panelAccording to the organizers, this is the most comprehensive exhibition ever undertaken on the work of Arts and Crafts legends Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene — AND, the first such exhibition to travel outside of California.

If you don’t have the time to go, or even just want to see what its about prior to a visit, more information and an online exhibition can be found here>>

Proposed Mall Plan, ca. 1936-7

Posted in Mall (The), Museums, Unrealized Dreams on May 18, 2009 by Kent

It makes sense to me that this plan dates to 1936 or 7, as the site for the National Gallery of Art building is listed as proposed, and it was completed and dedicated by 1941.Mall Plan with Proposed MuseumsThe focus of this plan, however, is the proposed National Museum of Engineering and Industry. This footprint removed the Arts and Industries building, and the old Army Medical Museum, which was eventually razed to make room for the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.  The National Museum of engineering and Industry would eventually be opened as the Museum of History and Technology, which is not the Museum of American History (Image courtesy Smithsonian Institution).

Unrealized Dreams: Smithsonian Institution

Posted in Gothic Revival, Mall (The), Museums, Unrealized Dreams on May 16, 2009 by Kent

Robert Mills Smithsonian proposalProposed design in a medieval revival style of the north facade for the Smithsonian Institution Building by Robert Mills. The design was submitted for the competition sponsored by the Building Committee of the Board of Regents, December 23, 1846 (Image and text from Smithsonian Institution).

3 Eakins From Hirshhorn to be Sold

Posted in Museums, Paintings on May 1, 2009 by Kent

thomas-eakins-study-for-portrait-of-mrs-charles-l-leonardHaving worked at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden for two years, the item in yesterday’s Post concerning the upcoming sale of 3 works by Thomas Eakins caught my attention.

The Hirshhorn has a very solid collection by Eakins, and I know that the deaccessioning of these three pieces will not impact the quality of the Museum’s collection. In fact, I think the timing is excellent. The Hirshhorn recently got a new director, and I know that funds supporting collections are tight.

Since the sale of the paintings will infuse cash into the collection development budget, this give the new director, and curatorial staff, and opportunity to assess the state of the collection, and pursue development in areas where holes may exist, or secure key works by artists that are not well represent.

This is what great museums do, and I’m looking forward to seeing how much the Eakins bring and what that money will be used for.

“I Do Solemnly Swear: Photographs of the 2009 Presidential Inauguration” Opens at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

Posted in Culture and History, Inaugurations, Mall (The), Museums, Presidents on April 30, 2009 by Kent

obama-inaugurationOpening yesterday and running through July 12th, the exhibition “I Do Solemnly Swear” features approximately 50 framed color and black-and-white photographs highlighting the week-long events surrounding the historic Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama.

Included in the exhibition are photographs by both professional and amateur photographers who recorded events surrounding the peaceful American transfer of power. The photographs on view include selections from the National Museum of American History’s new acquisition of 2009 inaugural photographs by leading photojournalists, including David Hume Kennerly, Bob McNeely and Karen Ballard.

You can read the entire press release for more information, and if you haven’t been back to the National Museum of American History since it’s reopened, what better reason do you need.