Nov
07

Today in Smithsonian History: November 7, 1966

Washington, D.C., Mayor Mayor Walter Washington (right) presents Joseph Hirshhorn with the key to city on the opening day of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden,Oct. 4, 1974. (As featured in the Torch, November 1974.)

Washington, D.C., Mayor Mayor Walter Washington (right) presents Joseph Hirshhorn with the key to city on the opening day of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden,Oct. 4, 1974. (As featured in the Torch, November 1974.)

November 7, 1966 Congress accepts the gift of Joseph H. Hirshhorn’s art collection, authorizes a site for the construction of the museum, and provides statutory authority for the appropriation of construction and operating funds (P.L. 89-788). The gift includes nearly 5,000 paintings and drawings, more than 1,500 pieces of sculpture, and $1 million for future acquisitions. President Lyndon B. Johnson approves the legislation to establish the Joseph H. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

The Hirshhorn Museum’s founding donor, Joseph H. Hirshhorn (1899–1981), immigrated to New York from Latvia when he was eight years old. His widowed mother settled with her children (Joseph was the twelfth of thirteen) in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.

In time, Joseph Hirshhorn would become a financier, philanthropist, and well-known collector of modern art whose gift to the nation of nearly 6,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, and mixed media pieces established his namesake museum on the National Mall. The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden has been open to the public since October 4, 1974.

Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution Archives


Posted: 7 November 2017
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