April 29, 2016
BMA Completes Major Archive Initiative
More than 10,000 documents, photographs, and recordings are more easily accessible
BALTIMORE, MD (April 29, 2016)—The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) recently completed an ambitious multi-year initiative generously supported by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). A $69,556 grant from NHPRC made it possible for the BMA’s Library & Archives to process five key collections: the museum archive’s photography collection, audiovisual collection, curatorial records for exhibitions and publications, juried and invitational exhibition records, and education department records. More than 10,000 photographs, audio/video recordings, and documents were evaluated, arranged, conserved, and described in-detail. Visit artbma.org/collections/finding.aids.html to explore these online resources.
During the project, BMA archivists uncovered noteworthy materials such as correspondence from children’s book illustrators Richard Scarry and Alice and Martin Provensen; audio recordings of lectures at the BMA in 1955; biographical data submitted by local artists in the 1940s for a “Who’s Who in Maryland Art”; curatorial research for over 200 BMA exhibitions; and photographs of works of art and installations from nearly 1000 exhibitions between 1923 and 2008.
This timely archives project furthers an ongoing initiative to process the museum’s entire archives about the BMA and its surrounding communities over the past century and make important research materials accessible to a wide audience. The museum’s previous efforts funded by NHPRC culminated in the creation of an advanced records management program and an extensive catalog of the museum’s archival records, as well as seven manuscript collections. Searchable with corresponding finding aids, the materials document the lives of art collectors, artists, archeologists, and historians as well as chronicle the BMA’s history from its inception in 1914 to today. Staff, volunteer, and trustee records revealed exhibition research, correspondence with artists, and photography and audio recordings of lectures and events.
National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC)
NHRPC is the grantmaking affiliate of the National Archives and Records Administration. Congress established the NHPRC grants program to promote the preservation and use of America’s documentary heritage. NHPRC supports a wide range of activities to preserve, publish, and encourage the use of documentary sources, created in every medium ranging from quill pen to computer, relating to the history of the United States.
About the Baltimore Museum of Art
Founded in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) inspires people of all ages and backgrounds through exhibitions, programs, and collections that tell an expansive story of art—challenging long-held narratives and embracing new voices. Our outstanding collection of more than 95,000 objects spans many eras and cultures and includes the world’s largest public holding of works by Henri Matisse; one of the nation’s finest collections of prints, drawings, and photographs; and a rapidly growing number of works by contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds. The museum is also distinguished by a neoclassical building designed by American architect John Russell Pope and two beautifully landscaped gardens featuring an array of modern and contemporary sculpture. The BMA is located three miles north of the Inner Harbor, adjacent to the main campus of Johns Hopkins University, and has a community branch at Lexington Market. General admission is free so that everyone can enjoy the power of art.