Cranbrook Art Museum Exhibition Records
The exhibitions of the Art Museum have evolved over time and reflect the programmatic changes of administration. This collection holds materials relating to exhibitions between 1940 and 1976. The first Annual Student exhibition was held in 1940 and remained an annual feature notwithstanding changes in collection focus. Alumni exhibitions are predominant in the early 1950s and again in the early to mid 1970s, while individual alumnus exhibitions span the entire period. Exhibition records from 1977 to the present remain in the purview of the Art Museum Registrar.
Materials include master checklists, loan forms and correspondence, shipping and packing records for artwork loans and travelling exhibitions, condition surveys, insurance valuations, installation documents, various checklist iterations, and internal communications and notes. Also included are exhibition publications, including brochures, flyers, announcements, invitations and catalogs.
There are some photographic materials and slides for specific exhibitions. File 34:6 contains photographs and slides of the exhibit Survey (Sep-Oct 1976) and File 36:3 contains slides for Portable World (Nov 1974-Jan 1975). Files containing photographs also include File 12:6 Fourth Biennial Exhibition of Textiles and Ceramics (Feb-Mar 1953); 13:9 and 13:10 First Biennial Exhibition American Painting Sculpture (Oct 1953), Painting and Sculpture respectively; 14:2 Alumni Exhibition Textiles, Ceramics, Metalwork (Mar 1954); 31:1 Art in Finland (Sep-Oct 1973); 32:2 Waves: An Artist Selects (Nov 1973-Jan 1974); 38:6 Icon and Symbol: the Cult of the Ancestor in African Art (May-Jul 1975); and 39:4 Eight from Toronto (Nov 1975).
- 1940 - 1976
- Cranbrook Academy of Art (Organization)
Access to the collection is unrestricted.
Permission to use collection materials must be requested in writing.
The Cranbrook Art Museum (CAM) was originally housed in what is known today as the Academy of Art Administration building, along with the Academy of Art Library. The Art Museum was, and still is, a department of the Academy of Art. The Academy of Art was a department of the Cranbrook Foundation until 1942 when it was accredited as its own institution. The original collection was an eclectic mixture of art and artifacts spanning the centuries, including stained glass, architectural fragments, sculptures, paintings, ceramics, glass, furniture, textiles, metalwork and known reproductions. Selected and purchased by Cranbrook’s founder George Booth, the collection was donated to the Cranbrook Foundation in 1927. Formally established in 1930, the Art Museum espoused Booth’s intention to create a collection that would complement the art library so that Academy of Art students could examine the actual form as well as study its design in books of historical art themes and objects. Booth also wanted to create a modern art collection that would serve as a record of contemporary design and convey the living nature of art. The first exhibition was a blend of art and science objects, but by 1932, the science objects had been relocated to the Institute of Science. Subsequent exhibitions were held in the Pavilion (now St. Dunstan’s) which had been converted to an events and exhibition space. Exhibitions primarily featured the work of the campus artists, including Carl Milles, Zoltan Sepeshy, and Maija Grotell. By 1940, the collections and exhibitions had grown significantly and required the need for a larger building. In 1942, the collection moved into a new purpose-built museum building, the last building designed at Cranbrook by the Finnish American architect Eliel Saarinen. The new Library and Art Museum building maintained the original relationship between books and objects for students and the public. Completed during World War II, the museum operated on a limited basis until the post-war period. In 1945, a full series of temporary exhibitions, primarily traveling exhibitions, were featured, and gradually, the museum exhibition featured more robust exhibitions of the work of students and faculty. Although the collection remained encyclopedic in scope, new acquisitions and temporary exhibitions increasingly emphasized contemporary art. In January 1955, the museum launched with a new name, “Cranbrook Academy of Art Galleries,” and a new mission to stress contemporary art, particularly in the areas of decorative art, painting, and sculpture. This mission is exemplified in the exhibition records.
- Richard Raseman
- February 1941-September 1942
- Richard Davis
- Mary DeWolf
- 1944-March 1948
- Harriet Dyer Adams
- March 1948-March 1949
- Esther Skinner Sperry
- Eva Ingersoll Gatling
- 1955-February 1957
- Margot Cramer (Curator of the Galleries)
- Wally Mitchell (Head of Galleries)
- Mary Riordan (Gallery Assistant)
- 1963 – 1969
- John Peterson (Gallery Assistant)
- Kathleen McCullough
17.1 Linear Feet (41 MS)
Language of Materials
The Cranbrook Art Museum (CAM) was originally housed in what is known today as the Academy of Art Administration building, along with the Academy of Art Library. The Art Museum was, and still is, a department of the Academy of Art. This collection holds materials relating to exhibitions between 1940 and 1976. This includes master checklists, loan forms and correspondence, shipping and packing records, condition surveys, insurance valuations, installation documents, checklist iterations, and internal communications and notes. Also included are Exhibition publications, photographic materials, and slides for specific exhibitions.
The collection is arranged chronologically by exhibition title. In cases where the materials were separated into more than one folder, they are arranged chronologically, and sometimes by document type.
Transferred from the Art Museum in 2013.
Processed and finding aid created by Laura MacNewman, 2014.
- Cranbrook Academy of Art (Organization)
- Cranbrook Art Museum (Organization)
- Guide to the Cranbrook Art Museum Exhibition Records
- Original finding aid written by Laura MacNewman.
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Edition statement
- Resource record created by Nichole L. Manlove.
Part of the Cranbrook Archives, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research Repository