A Herculean Move

March 15, 2006


How does SAAM move a monumental artwork into the museum? Watch this video to find out!

A tower crane hoisted a crate containing the mural Achelous and Hercules by Thomas Hart Benton. Measuring 22 feet wide by 5 feet tall, the artwork was too large to enter via the loading dock. Instead, the move took place on a busy block of 7th Street, N.W. Usually the giant television screens outside D.C.’s athletic arena, the Verizon Center, captivate passersby. But that day, all eyes focused on the action across the street at the historic Patent Office Building, home of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery.

When the museum opens in July 2006 following major renovation, Benton’s mural will be on display in our WPA (Works Projects Administration) gallery on the second floor. For more background on Achelous and Hercules, visit our Director’s Choice tour. Until you can see the artwork in person this summer, why not view it up close using the zoom tool in the Interact page?


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