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Springfield Library and Museums Association (Springfield, MA 01103-1733)
Larissa Murray (Project Director: May 2020 to October 2021)
A Glimpse into the Gilded Age: Discovering the Archives of the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum

The retention and creation of fifteen positions to rehouse, digitize, create online access, and incorporate into exhibitions the archives of the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, which contain correspondence, photographs, and other documentation of its Gilded Age art collection.

This project preserves and connects the cultural contributions of an exceptional late 19th c. private collector art museum to a 21st century audience. Opened in 1896 as the first of five museums at the Springfield Museums, the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum is one of only a few remaining museums, similar to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, in which the building and the objects it houses form a unified whole, representative of a specific period in the history of humanities in the US. We propose to digitize and rehouse currently inaccessible photographs and documents relevant to the history of museums in America, and share them digitally through virtual exhibits, tours, and on-site kiosks. This will provide visitors with a newly designed and multi-layered way to engage with a historic Museum dedicated to the holding, preservation, exhibition, study and enjoyment of 6,000+ objects gathered from around the world by lifetime collectors, George Walter Vincent and Belle Smith.

[Grant products][Media coverage]

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism; Arts, Other; Cultural History

Cooperative Agreements and Special Projects (P&A)

Preservation and Access

$141,300 (approved)
$138,413 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/15/2020 – 2/28/2021