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Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art Receives Grant to Digitize Collections

The Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art announced today that it will receive a challenge grant of up to $900,000 from the Walton Family Foundation in support of the digitization of the archive’s collections. The grant will be distributed over the course of three years and in three installments of up to $300,000.

“The task of digitizing the archives’ vast collections for broad accessibility requires a dedicated team of experts and time,” director Kate Haw said. “This challenge grant from the distinguished Walton Family Foundation allows us to expand both our technical and staff capacities to ramp up our pace beyond what we could have imagined. We look forward to getting underway to achieve our ultimate goal of making our collections available to anyone, anytime, anywhere and stimulating understanding and appreciation of American art worldwide.”

The grant will allow the archives to double the number of images it’s able to digitize each year, resulting in an additional 240 linear feet of archival material that will available online by September 2019.

Founded in 1954, the Archives of American Art consists of nearly six thousand collections and more than twenty million items. Since it began digitizing works in 2004, the archives has made more than 2.5 million images available online, including the papers of cultural figures such as Milton Avery, Joseph Cornell, Lee Krasner, Horace Pippin, Jackson Pollock, and Grant Wood.

The Walton Family Foundation is dedicated to continuing the philanthropic legacy of Sam and Helen Walton. In 2015, the foundation awarded nearly $375 million in grants supporting education, environmental preservation, and economic growth in their home state of Arkansas.