THE BALTIMORE MUSEUM OF ART INVITES 300 ORGANIZATIONS TO PARTICIPATE IN HISTORIC SURVEY

. May 30, 2019

BALTIMORE, MD – The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) today announced it is relaunching its ambitious 1937 citywide survey to find out how the museum can best serve the interests of Baltimore’s communities. Titled Make It Now, the updated survey asks 300 organizations—including schools and civic, social, and religious groups—to tell the BMA what they want from Baltimore’s largest art museum. This initiative will help in planning for future exhibitions and programs while reinforcing longstanding relationships and developing new ones throughout the city.

“We are excited to build upon the precedent of community engagement established by the BMA’s leadership during the museum’s first century,” said Christopher Bedford, BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director. “I have no doubt the outcome of the survey will be very enlightening and will help guide us as we work toward reinventing the museum experience for 21st-century visitors.”

The BMA’s first citywide survey was launched in 1937 when the museum’s Board of Trustees President Henry E. Treide sent a letter to 225 Baltimore organizations seeking their advice as to what each group wanted the museum to do for it. The 192 organizations that responded included educational institutions and business, labor, professional, and religious groups. Each organization formed a committee and filled out a questionnaire that asked what the museum could do to serve their interests. Examples of the responses included the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company employees’ preference for paintings and antique furniture and the McCormick & Company staff’s desire for photography and labels to identify the plants in the garden. The Baltimore Canned Foods Exchange replied that they had no requests. The BMA used the collective responses and organized exhibitions titled Labor in Art, Religious Art, and Hunting and Racing, among others. The survey was also the impetus for the museum’s partnership with the Harmon Foundation, which organized the groundbreaking Contemporary Negro Art exhibition at the BMA in 1939.

The BMA is reaching out to many of the same organizations that it established relationships with during the 1930s, such as the American Institute of Architects, Enoch Pratt Free Library, McCormick & Company, and Maryland Jockey Club, as well as newer organizations and those overlooked in 1937. Individuals who wish to contribute their thoughts and ideas to the survey can participate online by visiting artbma.org/now.

Responses are due by Sunday, June 30.

Category: Fine Art

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