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New Podcast: The Architectural History of the Renwick Gallery
August 21, 2009


Detail of the façade of the Renwick Gallery

The Renwick Gallery has been the American Art Museum's showcase for contemporary crafts and decorative arts since 1972, but this National Historic Landmark has its own intriguing history. A new illustrated podcast of a talk by architect Judith Capen captures this fascianting story. In 1859, Washington banker and art collector William Wilson Corcoran hired noted architect James Renwick Jr. to build the city's first art museum for his collection. Completed in 1874, the building has housed various art collections, the Union Army during the Civil War, and the U.S. Court of Claims, which, needing more space in the 1950s, proposed that the building be torn down. In the 1960s, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy led the effort to save this architectural gem, located just steps from the White House. Later, the building was turned over to the Smithsonian.

In 2008, Capen was part of a team that conducted a Historic Studies Report on the Renwick. In this podcast, she recounts not only the layered history of the building but also its architectural "forensics." You can listen online or download the podcast to take to the Renwick Gallery when you visit: MP3 or iTunes. You can also read about the Renwick in this earlier Eyelevel post, "Renwick 101: A Brief History of the First Art Museum in D.C."


Posted by Nancy on August 21, 2009 in Museums & Technology


Comments

that's so beautiful. i'm about to go and listen to the podcast now.

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