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History and Art at the Smithsonian is defined to embrace the following organization units:  The Museum of American History, which is primarily concerned with American history and the history of technology; the Museum of American Art, which is the Smithsonian's museum devoted to the history of American art, along with its subsidiary, the Renwick Gallery, which displays decorative arts and crafts; the Portrait Gallery, which studies American biographic history through the various media of portraiture; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, which is the Smithsonian's museum of modern art; the Freer Gallery of Art, which covers the broad fields of Near and Far Eastern Art; the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, which focuses its program on design and holds one of the major decorative arts collections in the world; the Archives of American Art, the nation's largest repository of documentary materials pertinent to the student of American art history; the Joseph Henry Papers Project, which edits and publishes the papers of Joseph Henry, the first Secretary of the Smithsonian and a leading scientist in the mid-1800s; the Museum of African Art, which deals with traditional art forms of the Continent of Africa; and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for History and Art, which provides overall guidance and coordination.
The resources and programs of the Office of American and Folklife Studies are also administered by the Assistant Secretary for History and Art, as are the major Exhibition Program and Trust Fund Collections Acquisition Program.  These activities are contained in the Special Programs chapter to provide consistency with the FY 1984 budget to Congress.

Each of the History and Art museums has its own physical plant, its own distinctive collections, and its own specialized staff, and, more importantly, its own character and sense of purpose.  Although the Freer Gallery of Art opened more than 50 years ago, the preponderant activity in History and Art at the Smithsonian has been developed largely over the last twenty years, in most instances following specific enactments by the Congress.  The budgets for History and Art activities have grown at a measured pace, and most of the bureaus are now reasonably well funded to carry out at least the basic charge each has been given.

[[underlined]]Current Resources and Support[[/underlined]]

Current funding for History and Art activities consists of a mixture of appropriated federal funds, infrequent grants and contracts,
Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact