Preservation and Access: Cooperative Agreements and Special Projects (P&A)

Period of Performance

6/15/2020 - 2/28/2021

Funding Totals

$141,300.00 (approved)
$138,413.34 (awarded)

A Glimpse into the Gilded Age: Discovering the Archives of the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum

FAIN: PB-275149-20

Springfield Library and Museums Association (Springfield, MA 01103-1733)
Larissa Murray (Project Director: May 2020 to October 2021)

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.

Media Coverage

How the Springfield Museums is digitizing hundreds of historic items (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Alanna Flood
Publication: Mass Appeal
Date: 2/9/2021
Abstract: This is a TV interview about the findings that resulted from the digitization project with the curator of the art museums at the Springfield Museums, Maggie North.

Associated Products

In Pursuit of Beauty: A Glimpse into the Gilded Age (Catalog)
Title: In Pursuit of Beauty: A Glimpse into the Gilded Age
Author: Heather Haskell
Author: Maggie North
Abstract: This is an 8 page booklet that was printed as part of the project that highlights some of the notable archival resources that were digitized as part of this NEH project.
Year: 2021
Primary URL: file:///C:/Users/abono/Downloads/Springfield.Smith%20Brochure%20FINAL.pdf
Primary URL Description: This should be a link to the pdf
Catalog Type: Other
Publisher: Springfield Museums