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Museum of Modern Art Celebrates a Birthday

The Museum of Modern Art was originally the idea of John D. Rockefeller, Jr’s wife, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. In 1929, only nine days after the famous Wall Street crash, the museum opened on November 7th. It began in a modest space inside the Hecksher Building on Fifth Avenue in New York City. It was considered the premiere museum for modern art at the time.  The collections grew to include some famous masters as well, including Van Gogh, Cezanne and Seurat in its early years. Although her husband was one of the wealthiest men in America, he was opposed to modern art, and Abby had to find funding for the museum elsewhere, but was able to continue to grow the establishment each year. The exhibits and collections were considered some of the most prestigious time and again.

The MoMA currently holds more than 150,000 pieces, not including media such as music and film. They include pieces from Van Gogh, Matisse, Monet, and so many more. They are also known for their world renowned photography collections, held in a department founded in 1940. In a separate building is also the MoMA library, with collections of rare and antique books, as well as documents ranging from rare sculpture to architecture. There are over ten thousand books in the collection and it is open to researchers by appointment only. The MoMA is also one of the only institutions with a department dedicated to architecture and design.  With over 28,000 pieces, the collection holds models, drawings and photographs. All of these parts add to the prestige of the museum as a whole.

As the museum prepares to celebrate another anniversary this year, it is easy to look back at the ambitious history and be proud. It has built a reputation for being innovative and unique, in both its collection development and its exhibits. It is not afraid to move with the times and grow in new directions when the world calls for it.  The museum is constantly growing its programs to extend its reach to new audiences and finding new patrons to enlighten with the beauty of art. Each time the museum grows, it does so with the goal of bringing more art into the world.

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About the Author

Amanda graduated from the University of Kansas, where she studied English literature and got a masters degree in library sciences. She enjoys reading, cooking and playing with her nephews. Her best friend is her little dog Brady.