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Planned Giving

Bequests by Will or Living Trusts

Sun, by Arthur Dove, 1943

The Smithsonian American Art Museum's existence is attributed to the power of bequests.

Harriet Lane Johnston, the niece of James Buchanan and official hostess of the White House during his presidency, bequeathed her art collection in 1903 and focused the Smithsonian on collecting art as part of its comprehensive mission and created the basis of the Museum's collection.

Since then the museum has received significant support in the form of bequests both large and small. Arthur J. and Edith Levin, of Palo Alto, California, were passionate about art and long-time devotees of the Museum. In addition to a generous estate gift providing funds for acquisitions and programs, their bequest of 140 artworks includes major works by California modern and contemporary artists.

Legacy donors have found that bequests are a way to perpetuate the values and ideals that have been important in their lives. No matter the size, legacy gifts will help present a dazzling showcase of American art for generations to come. Including the museum in your estate plans is a great way to preserve your cultural values for the next generation. The Development Office is available to discuss how easy making a bequest can be at 202-633-8420 or by e-mail.

Pictured: Sun, by Arthur Dove, 1943, watercolor and pen and ink on paper sheet: 3 x 4 in. (7.6 x 10.2 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of Suzanne M. Smith.