Victor D’Amico Papers Open at The Museum of Modern Art Archives

Author: Celia Hartmann, Project Assistant Archivist, The Museum of Modern Art Archives

The Victor D’Amico Papers are now processed and open for researchers to use onsite, by appointment only at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)’s Archives reading room in Long island City, Queens. The collection’s finding aid is searchable online from any web-enabled device, along with MoMA’s other archival collections.
The collection includes correspondence, audio and videotapes, clippings, draft and completed publications, as well as personal documents, awards, and honors. It is especially rich in photographic documentation of D’Amico’s best-known programs at MoMA: classes and exhibitions of artwork created at the War Veterans’ Art Center, People’s Art Center, The Art Barge, and Children’s Art Carnival (both at MoMA and overseas) in the 1950s and 1960s; and the extensive program of circulating exhibitions distributed through MoMA’s New York City High Schools Program from the 1940s into the early 1970s. The range and variety of photographs are evidence of the extensive publicity that introduced and promoted these programs worldwide, helping to promulgate D’Amico’s progressive ideal of art education for a range of populations: children, adults, families, veterans, and seniors.
As founding director of MoMA’s Department of Education from 1937 to 1969, Victor D’Amico championed art education in the museum setting through innovations that are now standard offerings in museums around the world. At MoMA these included classes for servicepersons at the War Veterans’ Art Center and for children and families at the People’s Art Center; participatory experiences at the Children’s Art Carnival in its many versions at MoMA and in Milan, Brussels, Barcelona, Delhi, and its eventual home in Harlem; and summer art instruction programs at the Art Barge, on eastern Long Island. Under his auspices, MoMA published instructional books for home use, introducing the layperson to artistic expression through woodworking, ceramics, jewelrymaking, and metalworking.
During D’Amico’s tenure at MoMA, the Department of Education organized a wide range of exhibitions, both at the Museum and in other locations. Some were curated by students involved in MoMA’s High Schools Program; others showcased works created by students in the Department’s various programs.
Processing of the Victor D’Amico Papers was made possible by generous funding from Ann L. Freedman; The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art; Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.; The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation; Trustee Committee on Archives, Library, and Research; The Cowles Charitable Trust; Ngaere Macray; Beverley M. Galban; Lori and Eric Friedman; Jean Long Ostrow; Anne and John McAlinden.
An entry about the collection’s availability on MoMA/PS1’s blog Inside/Out can be found here.
For more information on the Victor D’Amico Papers and the Archives at The Museum of Modern Art, go to http://www.moma.org/learn/resources/archives/archives_about or http://www.moma.org/learn/resources/archives/archives_contact
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