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Consider the world outside a museum. Imagine that the world that we live in is really another kind of museum where the works of art exist in the landscape itself. What if you could have a gallery guide which would tell you about the buildings and artworks you find around you. It would show you what the place used to look like and introduce you to some of the people who shaped it.
Our growing virtual collection of photographs and drawings, maps and documents, podcasts and videos tell the stories of how some of the more iconic places in our cities got to be the way they are and what they might become.
Explore buildings of the past, present and future. Look at the vast selection of artwork that graces the public realm. And discover how places have evolved over time. Deconstruct the layers of history that form the fabric of our urban landscape. Meet people who have made their mark on our cities and country who have lived in the past or are living now. Listen to their voices. Take (or make) a tour. And join us at an event either virtual or real.
Our curators are the artists, architects, photographers and historians who created the images, podcasts and videos to share their knowledge and insights. Our collaborators are museums, universities, cities, and civic organizations who are the stewards of our shared cultural history
Use the guide online or take it with you on your phone...
Like the cities we live in, this is a work in progress.... Enjoy!
What’s in the Collection
90 collections of public art in the country 16412 works of public art To explain them we have 1412 podcasts and 12 walking tours Our largest collections are City of Albuquerque Public Art Program has 780 Boston Art Commission with 416 and 4 major collections in New York City which have together over 277 artworks
Places Over Time
Federal Hall National Memorial When the Constitution was ratified in 1788, New York was the national capital. Pierre L’Enfant was commissioned to remodel City Hall for the new federal government. The First Congress met in the new Federal Hall, and wrote the Bill of Rights there. George Washington was inaugurated here as President on April 30, 1789. When the capital moved to Philadelphia in 1790, the building again housed city government until 1812, at which time Federal Hall was demolished. The current structure on the site was built as the Customs House, opening in 1842. In 1862, Customs moved to 55 Wall Street and the building became the U.S. Sub-Treasury. Millions of dollars of gold and silver were kept in the basement vaults until the Federal Reserve Bank replaced the Sub-Treasury system in 1920. Federal Hall became a National Historic Site on May 26, 1939, and was designated a National Memorial on August 11, 1955.
1784 - Pierre Charles L’Enfant opens an engineering and architecture firm; General Washington provides public commissions including the renovation of Federal Hall and the city plan for the nation’s new capital
1789 - "Federal Hall becomes the 1st US Capitol" housing America’s First Congress. Bill of Rights was written and ratified. Pierre L’Enfant renovated the building from the former City Hall.
1789 - 1st Presidential Inauguration George Washington took his oath of office on the balcony of Federal Hall
1883 - Statue of George Washington by American sculptor, John Quincy Adams Ward on the 100th anniversary of Evacuation day.
1888 - Great Blizzard of 1888 NYSE closes for the 1st time, 200 people died and demand for a subway.
1918 - Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks hold Liberty Bond Rally on Wall St - 20,000 people come out
1920 - Wall Street Bombing thought to be set off by anarchists has the distinction of being the deadliest terrorist attack in US history till Oklahoma City; the explosion killed 38 people and injured many others
1929 - Wall Street Crash From “Black Thursday” to the following “Black Tuesday” panic sets in as investors try to sell off their stocks
1943 - World War II 3,300,000 men shipped out of NY Harbor and 60 million tons of supplies for WWII; at its peak, a ship left every 15 minutes
2011 - Occupy Wall Street Protestors set up camp at Zucotti Park bringing economic inquality into the national spotlight, spawning a worldwide movement.
2015 - July 4th Celebration Historic re-enactors bring to life the epic American Revolution and the reading of the Declaration of Independence every year.
2017 - Flag Exchange: A living thing an art installation of 50 distressed flags collected from each of the 50 states, by artist Mel Ziegler.