These records consist primarily of administrative subject files maintained by the Office of the Director, documenting his or her activities in the museum, in the Institution, and with outside people and organizations. Also included are files on the National Museum of American Art Commission, its meetings, and its commissioners. Some materials date to when the museum was known as the National Collection of Fine Arts.
Upon the death of Director Joshua C. Taylor in April 1981, Harry Lowe was named Acting Director and served until July 1982. Charles C. Eldredge next held the position from 1982 until 1988. Elizabeth Broun served as Acting Director, 1988-1989, and then Director, 1989- .
These records primarily document the tenure of Charles C. Eldredge as Director and the first few years of the tenure of Elizabeth Broun. A small amount of material relates to previous directors.
During his six years in office, Eldredge directed the first refurbishment of the public galleries of the museum since its opening. A management study was initiated and the staff reorganized in 1984. The position of Chief Curator was created, and Elizabeth Broun was hired to fill it. The curatorial staff surveyed the entire permanent collection and a number of peripheral works were deaccessioned. A scholarly journal, Smithsonian Studies in American Art, was initiated; and the American Art Forum, an organization for patrons, was established.
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 438, National Museum of American Art. Office of the Director, Records
Smithsonian Institution Archives
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