It was the beginning of a distinguished history of presenting the finest examples of material culture from the cultures of Africa, the Pacific Islands, and the Americas in ground-breaking, informative and imaginative displays. During those years the Museum also issued a succession of distinguished scholarly publications on these cultures and the finest private collections of the era.
For nearly that entire period the Library of the Museum of Primitive Art offered an unrivaled collection of books and journals on art and anthropology combined with knowledgeable public reference.
After nearly eighteen years the Museum shut its door on Jan. 1, 1975.
The Museum, of course, is the precursor to the Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas (AAOA) in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the host for this blog. In May 1969 Nelson Rockefeller, president and founding spirit of the Museum of Primitive Art, announced the transfer of the collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to be housed in a new wing ...
This blogger for one finds it hard to believe, since I recall all the festivities and hoopla surrounding the opening of Library and the Wing that houses it.
I won't say it was only yesterday. Much of the furniture remains the same, in remarkably good condition. But the once sparsely populated stacks are now full to the gunwales. The card catalog has been entirely replaced by the online catalog, WATSONLINE.
And over these twenty-five years have come and gone a remarkable sequence of talented librarians and assistants: my mentor and predecessor Allan Chapman; the more recent librarians Jean Wagner, Jane Garry, Kay Perring, Peter Blank, Leslie Preston, and Barbara Mathé; all with the talented assistance of Bill, Helice, Linda, Lois, Chrissa, Gabriella, as well as incumbents Joy and Erika. My thanks and congratulations to these and anyone I've unintentionally omitted from the honor roll.