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Acquisition of the Museum of African Art by the Smithsonian Institution Statement on Signing S. 2507 Into Law.

October 05, 1978

I am pleased to sign into law today S. 2507, a bill which authorizes the Smithsonian Institution to assume responsibility for Washington's Museum of African Art and furthers an important goal of this administration by providing for greater understanding between the people of the United States and the people of Africa in the years to come.

It is unfortunate that until recently the traditional art forms of the continent of Africa were regarded as having only anthropological interest. But thanks in no small part to the effective programs of the Museum of African Art, the magnificent creations of the cultures of Africa have now been recognized as forming one of the truly major art traditions of the world, one whose rediscovery in the West can be traced in the work of many of this century's greatest artists, and one which represents a substantial part of the heritage of millions of our citizens.

The Museum of African Art, through the dedicated work of its founder and director, Warren Robbins, has amassed a remarkable collection of traditional African art objects, all of which are being donated to the people of the United States. In providing for the acceptance of this gift, S. 2507 pledges the faith of the United States to the continuance of the Museum of African Art as part of our great national museum, the Smithsonian Institution, where its collections will be exhibited to the general public free of charge. For its part the Smithsonian, which already has fine collections of European art, the arts of the Americas, and of the Near and Far East, will be responsible on behalf of all of us for the preservation, care, and continued development of this superb collection of African art.

During his last months, Senator Hubert Humphrey drafted the text embodied in S. 2507, which was introduced after his untimely death by Senator Wendell Anderson and Congresswoman Lindy Boggs. Together with them, committee chairmen Claiborne Pell and Lucien Nedzi deserve our special thanks.

As I sign this bill, I am privileged to guarantee future generations of Americans the opportunity to visit the Museum of African Art and to look at, study, and learn from its great collection.

Note: As enacted, S. 2507 is Public Law 95414, approved October 5.

Jimmy Carter, Acquisition of the Museum of African Art by the Smithsonian Institution Statement on Signing S. 2507 Into Law. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243799

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