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Smithsonian American Art Museum Receives $10 Million Gift

Contact: Smithsonian American Art Museum's Public Affairs Office ,AmericanArtinfo[at]
American Art's Web site:
Recorded information: (202) 633-8998

The Smithsonian American Art Museum announced today that it has received a $10 million gift from Nan Tucker McEvoy of San Francisco, Calif., as a part of the ambitious renovation of the Old Patent Office Building. The Patent Office Building, expected to reopen in 2004, is home to the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery.

"All my life I have been enriched and rewarded by American art," said McEvoy. "I am gratified that with this gift more people will have access to learning about the story of America and their heritage."

"We are working zealously to renovate and reopen the historic Old Patent Office Building," said Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence M. Small. "Nan McEvoy's extremely generous contribution takes us significantly closer to that goal, and enables the Smithsonian American Art Museum to dramatically enhance the public's overall .experience. Thousands of visitors interested in the story of America as told through its visual arts will flock to this museum when it reopens, and they will be thrilled with the results."

"For too long the Smithsonian American Art Museum has had to make do with inadequate space for public lectures and events," said Elizabeth Broun, the museum's director. "I am delighted that when the museum reopens we will be able to develop the dynamic and ambitious programs we have always wanted to provide for the public's enjoyment."

McEvoy has been an active supporter of the museum for more than 20 years. She joined the museum's commission in 1979 and served as chair from 1982 to 1986. She has been an emeritus member of the commission since 1996 and is currently an alumni member of the Smithsonian National Board. McEvoy is a collector of contemporary American art and has supported a number of museum acquisitions including works by Bryan Hunt, Sam Gilliam, Larry Sultan and Grant Wood.

The Smithsonian Board of Regents unanimously voted to name the new auditorium the Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium in honor of the donor.

Terry Stent, chair of the museum's advisory commission since 1999, said, "Nan's commitment to the museum will inspire us all to work toward achieving the goal of a splendid renovation of the .museum's historic home."

This is the second recent $10 million gift to the museum. On Jan. 24, the museum announced a $10 million gift from the Henry .Luce Foundation to establish the Luce Foundation Center for American Art.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum collection began with gifts of art donated to the federal government in 1829 and has evolved into the world's most important American art holdings with approximately 39,000 paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings, photographs, folk-art objects and contemporary crafts.

While the renovation of the museum's main building—the Old Patent Office—continues, the museum is coordinating eight exhibitions traveling across the United States as part of the ."Treasures to Go" tour, the nation's most extensive art tour ever. The Principal Financial Group® is a proud partner .in presenting these treasures to the American people.

The museum continues to offer a full program of exhibitions at its Renwick Gallery (Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street N.W.). For information about Renwick Gallery activities, call (202) 357-2700. Please visit the museum's award-winning Web site at