This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.
These records document the growing Hirshhorn collection and its evolution into the present-day HMSG. There is some material from the period before Hirshhorn's 1966 gift of his collection to the nation, but most of the records date after the gift. Included are records documenting the scope of the original donation, choice of an architect for the new museum on the national Mall, construction of the building, planning for layouts and display of the collection, and evolution of the Museum's programs. There is some correspondence with President Lyndon B. Johnson as well as a 1955 plan in which Lerner outlined to Hirshhorn his proposal to curate the collection. The collection contains many photographs, mostly of works of art, as well as installation drawings dealing with construction and design of exhibitions.
The contemporary art collection of Joseph H. Hirshhorn was given to the Smithsonian Institution in 1966. In 1974 the collection, now named the Joseph H. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (HMSG), opened to the public, with Abram Lerner as its first Director. However, both the Museum and its Director had deeper roots. Hirshhorn, who began collecting art in 1918, began to work with Lerner in 1954. In 1955 Lerner became curator of Hirshhorn's collection, stored in leased space in New York City, and was continuously associated with Hirshhorn and the collection until retiring as Director in 1984.
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 510, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Office of the Director, Records
Smithsonian Institution Archives
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