Washington, D.C.—The George Washington University, The Textile Museum and Albert H. Small today held a groundbreaking ceremony for the George Washington University Museum. University President Steven Knapp; President of The Textile Museum Board of Trustees Bruce P. Baganz; Interim Director of The Textile Museum W. Richard West, Jr.; Co-founder and President of the Southern Engineering Corporation Albert H. Small and arts patron Luther W. Brady were on hand to celebrate the important milestone.
“The George Washington University Museum, located in the heart of our Foggy Bottom campus, will be an integral part of the cultural and intellectual life of the community,” said President Steven Knapp. “Its world-class collections will be an invaluable resource for scholars, students and the general public for generations to come.”
The new museum will be a custom-built, approximately 35,000 square foot building located at G and 21st Streets. It will include dedicated galleries and increased exhibition space for The Textile Museum, the Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection and the university’s art collections.
The groundbreaking ceremony was held today and excavation will continue during winter 2012. The project will reach ground level in spring 2013, and the structure will reach its highest point in late spring or early summer 2013. Substantial construction work is expected to be completed in December 2013. The new museum is scheduled to open to the public in fall 2014.
“This is an exciting affiliation from every perspective. The Textile Museum collection applies to diverse academic disciplines,” said Bruce Baganz, president of the board of trustees of The Textile Museum. “Likewise, as The Textile Museum moves to the GW campus to become a cornerstone of the new museum, our mission has greater impact as we expand our audiences locally, nationally and internationally, and perpetuate our programs through the next century.”
Exhibitions and programs will be presented to the public through this unprecedented affiliation between a university and an existing art museum with a respected 87-year history. The Textile Museum plans to continue many of its acclaimed programs, and the affiliation creates new opportunities for research and innovative public resources. The Textile Museum will continue management of its internationally-acclaimed collections of more than 19,000 objects, which encompass the textile arts of peoples across Asia, North Africa and the indigenous cultures of the Americas. The 20,000-volume Arthur D. Jenkins Library of Textile Arts also will be housed in the new museum at Foggy Bottom. The Textile Museum will continue to present exhibitions at its current location through fall 2013.
The new George Washington University Museum also will include the Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection and Center for National Capital Area Studies, a treasure trove of rare maps, drawings, letters and documents, lithographs and books relating to the history and evolution of the city of Washington and the nation’s capital. In February of 2011, Mr. Small donated his collection to the university to help establish the new museum. The partnership will allow the collection to be integrated into the university’s academic programs and digitized for full access online by scholars and researchers around the world.
“D.C. is a world capital city and this collection is the largest and most comprehensive historic collection of the city,” said Albert H. Small, co-founder and president of Southern Engineering Corporation. “I’m excited to be able to share my collection with a wider audience. I love the collection. I’ve been collecting for more than 60 years. This is my legacy and I’m excited that the George Washington University Museum partnership will preserve it for generations of Washingtonians to come.”
Mr. Small’s Washingtoniana Collection will be permanently displayed in the 156-year-old Woodhull House which will be renamed the Historic Woodhull House, Home of the Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection. A prominent space in the new museum will be named the Albert H. Small Center for National Capital Area Studies.
In addition to the new museum in Foggy Bottom, the university will construct a 20,000 square foot conservation and resource center at its Virginia Science and Technology Campus in Loudoun County, Va., for the care and study of the The Textile Museum collections, the Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection and the university’s collections. This center will include storage facilities, a conservation laboratory and facilities for access to the collections. A groundbreaking ceremony for this location will be held Nov. 15.
About the George Washington University
In the heart of the nation’s capital with additional programs in Virginia, the George Washington University was created by an act of Congress in 1821. Today, George Washington is the largest institution of higher education in the District of Columbia. The university offers comprehensive programs of undergraduate and graduate liberal arts study, as well as degree programs in medicine, public health, law, engineering, education, business and international affairs. Each year, it enrolls a diverse population of undergraduate, graduate and professional students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and more than 130 countries.
The new George Washington University Museum will foster the study and appreciation of art, history, and culture, both within the university and throughout the global community, through its affiliation with The Textile Museum and through its university collections, including the Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection.
About The Textile Museum
The Textile Museum expands public knowledge and appreciation—locally, nationally and internationally—of the artistic merit and cultural importance of the world’s textiles. Founded in 1925 by George Hewitt Myers, The Textile Museum is an international center for the exhibition, study, collection and preservation of the textile arts. The Textile Museum collections encompass more than 19,000 objects that date from 3,000 BCE to the present, including some of the world’s finest examples of rugs and textiles from the Near East, Central Asia, East and Southeast Asia, Africa and the indigenous cultures of the Americas. Included in the collection are extraordinary holdings of the Islamic world and pre-Columbian textiles. The museum’s 20,000 volume Arthur D. Jenkins Library of Textile Arts is among the world’s foremost resources for the study of textiles.
About the Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection
The Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection, some 60 years in the making, is an unparalleled treasure trove of rare maps, drawings, letters and documents, lithographs and books relating to the history and evolution of the city of Washington and our nation’s capital. Albert H. Small, a third-generation Washingtonian, is co-founder and president of Southern Engineering Corporation. Mr. Small is a longtime supporter of the humanities and has served on many prominent civic and cultural boards. He received the 2009 National Humanities Medal, presented by President Barack Obama, and the 2011 President’s Medal from the George Washington University. His collections are housed at the University of Virginia, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and soon in the George Washington University Museum.