Smithsonian Institution. Assistant Secretary for History and Art Search this
58 cu. ft. (58 record storage boxes)
These records document an important change in the scope of the Smithsonian's concerns. Four of the bureaus and offices represented in these records existed in some
form prior to 1964: the National Museum of American History, the Freer Gallery of Art, the National Museum of American Art, and the National Portrait Gallery. All the others
were new enterprises for the Smithsonian and marked a great increase in the Institution's studies and collections in history and, especially, in art. These records follow
the creation of major museum programs, including, in the cases of the HMSG, the NMAA, the NPG, the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, the Renwick Gallery, the Anacostia Museum, and the
Barney Studio House, the construction, renovation, and equipping of buildings, recruitment of staff, and development of programs.
In addition, the records concern the administration of the bureaus and offices reporting to the Assistant Secretary for History and Art, including relations with the Board
of Regents and the Office of the Secretary, prospective donors, budgeting and planning for federal and private financial support, relations with other museums and scholarly
institutions, recruitment and other personnel matters, and the details of routine administration.
The position of assistant secretary for History and Art was authorized in 1964. In 1965 Charles Blitzer, formerly director of the Office of Education and Training,
was named acting assistant secretary and served until 1968, when he was made assistant secretary, serving until 1983. John Reinhardt was acting assistant secretary, 1983-1984,
followed by Dean W. Anderson, 1984-1985. In 1985 the office was abolished as part of an administrative reorganization. For additional information concerning the responsibilities
of the office, see Record Units 104 and 281.
The Assistant Secretary for History and Art was responsible for overseeing the Smithsonian's programs concerned with those disciplines. These included the Anacostia Museum,
the Archives of American Art, the Center for Asian Art (comprised of the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery), the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum
and Sculpture Garden (HMSG), the Joseph Henry Papers, the National Museum of African Art, the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of American Art (NMAA,
including the Renwick Gallery and Barney Studio House), the National Portrait Gallery (NPG), and the Office of American Studies.