Mapping Cultural Philanthropy

Donors and Cultural Institutions in the Nation’s Capital

Alain Locke Collection of African Art

Alain L. Locke was known as the “Dean of the Harlem Renaissance,” and in his collecting, criticism, and support for the art community, he argued for the aesthetic value of African art and exhorted African American artists to draw inspiration from it.

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Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery’s breadth and mission reflect the vision of its founder in situating artistic and humanistic endeavor within the larger context of cross-cultural understanding. The Sackler and neighboring Freer Gallery of Art together comprise the largest collection of Far and Near Eastern art and antiquities in the United States.

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Coolidge Auditorium

Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge translated her early love of music into widespread support for the Music Division of the Library of Congress, including the Coolidge Auditorium.

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Corcoran Gallery of Art

Financier and D.C. native William Wilson Corcoran sought to define American art and create a national gallery that would serve both the elite and the masses. The Corcoran Gallery of Art, which was “Dedicated to Art,” was the first public art museum in Washington, D.C.

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Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection

Combining collections of Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art, historic gardens, and a research library, Dumbarton Oaks reflects the wide-ranging interests of the Blisses and their mission to establish a “home of the Humanities.”

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The Folger Shakespeare Library

The Folgers’ love of the bard led them to acquire Shakespeareana at a breakneck pace, eventually building the world’s premiere collection.

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Freer Gallery of Art

The Freer Gallery was the Smithsonian Institution’s first art museum and, along with the neighboring Sackler Gallery, holds one of the largest collections of Asian art and antiquities in the United States. The brainchild of the railroad magnate Charles Lang Freer, the gallery preserves Freer’s distinctive aesthetic vision.

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Glenstone

Glenstone houses the contemporary art collection of founders Mitchell and Emily Wei Rales, who wanted to create a museum experience that integrates art, architecture, and landscape.

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Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens

The businesswoman and socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post established Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens to reflect her lifestyle and display her collections, including the largest and most comprehensive assemblages of Russian imperial art outside of Russia and important examples of eighteenth-century French decorative art. Hillwood also has extensive gardens and one of the most important orchid collections in America.

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Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

The Hirshhorn stands as an enduring testament to the public’s interest in and one man’s commitment to promoting modern art.

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Levine Music

Levine Music, originally known as the Selma M. Levine School of Music, has been a center for musical education in Washington, D.C., since September 1976. Located now on five campuses in the metropolitan area, the faculty teaches over 3,500 students of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities.

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National Gallery of Art

Andrew W. Mellon hoped that the National Gallery of Art would be a “joint enterprise on the part of the Government . . . and of magnanimous citizens,” an ambition realized with donations by the eight Founding Benefactors.

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National Museum of African Art

Founded by the diplomat and educator Warren Robbins in 1964, the National Museum of African Art has collections of both traditional and contemporary African art. The museum is also a center for public education, with the mission of fostering cross-cultural relations while honoring African arts and culture.

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National Museum of Women in the Arts

The first museum in the world to focus solely on the contributions of women artists, the National Museum of Women in the Arts has exhibited works by influential artists of all styles and periods.

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The Phillips Collection

Duncan Phillips transformed his family home into an art gallery and was committed to maintaining an intimate atmosphere by displaying the collection in a series of rotating exhibitions.

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Society of the Cincinnati at Anderson House

The international headquarters for the Society of the Cincinnati, an organization established in 1783 to celebrate the legacy of the American Revolutionary War, is located at Anderson House. Completed in 1905 as the winter residence of American diplomat Larz Anderson and his wife, the author and philanthropist Isabel Weld Perkins, Anderson House contains objects that preserve and interpret the history of the American Revolution and the Society of the Cincinnati, as well as fine and decorative art objects and a research library.

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The Kreeger Museum

The Kreeger Museum showcases nineteenth- and twentieth-century paintings and sculptures as well as traditional Asian and African art, the legacy collection of David Lloyd Kreeger and Carmen Kreeger. Philip Johnson designed the architecture in 1968 to serve first as the Kreegers’ residence and then as a public museum.

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The Textile Museum

Forester George Hewitt Myers established the Textile Museum in 1925 with the aim of increasing the stature of textiles as art objects and of providing a comprehensive survey of non-Western textiles.

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Whittall Pavilion at the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is home to a collection of rare instruments that include the Whittall Stradivari strings. These instruments are housed in the library’s Whittall Pavilion, named after the philanthropist Gertrude Clarke Whittall, who donated the pavilion, autograph musical manuscripts and correspondence, and instruments to the library. It was Whittall’s desire that the instruments be played by accomplished musicians so that they could be enjoyed by the public.

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Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts

Located on 117 acres of protected land in Fairfax County, Virginia, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts was established by Catherine Filene Shouse in 1966. A performance venue and center for cultural and natural heritage, it is operated jointly by the National Park Service and the nonprofit Wolf Trap Foundation in a unique public-private partnership.

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Enid A. Haupt Garden

The Enid A. Haupt Garden was endowed by and planned with the advice of the late publishing heiress Enid Annenberg Haupt. The 4.2-acre greenspace is emblematic of her engaged and long-standing philanthropic dedication to horticultural causes and has become a beloved natural fixture on the National Mall landscape.

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The Washington School of Ballet and The Washington Ballet

Mary Day founded the Washington School of Ballet in 1944 and the Washington Ballet in 1976. With her uncanny eye for detail and clear vision for excellence, Day brought dance to the forefront of Washington’s burgeoning arts scene.

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Washington National Opera

Begun as the Opera Society of Washington in 1957 by a cohort of Washington-area musicians and enthusiasts, today the Washington National Opera performs at the Kennedy Center, where its world-class productions and educational outreach and artist development programs sustain the vision of founders Day Thorpe and Paul Callaway.

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Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection

In 2011, Albert H. Small donated his collection of Washington, D.C., memorabilia—sixty years in the making—to the George Washington University. Small hoped that his museum would be valuable for both scholarly inquiry and public appreciation of the rich history of the city.

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Images

Images for the Mapping Cultural Philanthropy project

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