Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Providing for the Joseph H. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
ON MAY 17 of this year, a magnificent gift of art was offered the people of America by Joseph H. Hirshhorn and the Hirshhorn Foundation. At that time, I asked the Congress to approve legislation to authorize the acceptance of this extraordinary collection of paintings and sculpture and to pledge the faith of the United States to provide for its exhibition and maintenance in an appropriate gallery.
Today, I am approving legislation passed by the Congress to establish in the Smithsonian Institution the Joseph H. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and to authorize the necessary appropriations for its construction and administration. Placed amid the existing museums and art galleries on the Mall, this museum and garden will be enjoyed and appreciated by millions of Americans each year, and will serve as an art center of major importance for all our citizens.
Joseph H. Hirshhorn assembled his collection of more than 1,500 works of sculpture and over 4,800 paintings during a period of 40 years. This unique collection is a living assembly of modern art. It explores the vitality and the variety of the 20th century. To assure the collection of continued growth and vitality, Mr. Hirshhorn has donated one million dollars for the purchase of additional works of art.
I approve this legislation on behalf of a grateful Nation. History will record that Joseph H. Hirshhorn has now joined the select company of James Smithson, Charles Freer, and Andrew Mellon, whose earlier contributions to the Smithsonian Institution have so enriched the cultural life of the Nation and its Capital City.
Note: As enacted, the bill (S. 3389) is Public Law 89-788 (80 Stat. 1403).
On May 17 the President accepted on behalf of the Nation the Joseph H. Hirshhorn fine arts collection (see Item 226). For his letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House proposing establishment of the Joseph H. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, see Item 227.
The statement was released at San Antonio, Texas.
Lyndon B. Johnson, Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Providing for the Joseph H. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/238493