May
19

Today in Smithsonian History: May 19, 1883

The relics of George Washington on exhibit as part of the Ethnology exhibit in the North Hall of the United States National Museum, 1891 (now the Arts and Industries Building). Washington's relics were one of the earliest collections of the United States National Museum

The relics of George Washington on exhibit as part of the Ethnology exhibit in the North Hall of the United States National Museum, 1891 (now the Arts and Industries Building). Washington’s relics were one of the earliest collections of the United States National Museum. (Photographer unknown, via Smithsonian Institution Archives)

May 19, 1883 The relics of George Washington and other distinguished persons are transferred from the Commissioner of Patents to the National Museum. In addition, the Col. G.W. Lewis family collection of Washington relics, purchased for $12,000 by Congressional appropriation, and never previously unpacked, are transferred to the National Museum. Included in the Lewis collection are two portraits of George and Martha Washington by John Trumbull, considered among the choicest treasures of American art.

Miniature cabinet portrait of George Washington, painted by John Trumbull in 1795, towards the end of Washington's presidency. (Courtesy Smithsonian's National Museum of American History)

Miniature cabinet portrait of George Washington, painted by John Trumbull in 1795, towards the end of Washington’s presidency. (Courtesy Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History)

Miniature cabinet portrait of Martha Washington, painted by John Trumbull in 1795, towards the end of Washington's presidency.

Miniature cabinet portrait of Martha Washington, painted by John Trumbull in 1795, towards the end of Washington’s presidency. (Courtesy Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History)

 


Posted: 19 May 2019
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