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NEH & Exhibitions

Every year, NEH supports the planning, creation and display of numerous exhibitions around the nation. Many of them travel to multiple cities and towns, bringing millions of Americans the kind of rich historical, cultural and artistic experiences that would not otherwise be available locally. The list below contains a few examples among hundreds of successful projects.

For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights
Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture, University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture, 2010
“[H]e [Berger] looks at everyday life, 1935-1975, and explores how images were carefully used to establish a particular vision. . . . It [the exhibition] shines a light on a critical period from the past, but also gives a relevant and timely look forward.” - The New Yorker; “a thematic think piece” - The New York Times

The Buddha and Pilgrimage and Buddhist Art
Asia Society, 2008
“In the end, the rich and varied visual experience imparts a visceral sense of the dynamic practice of pilgrimage—a practice still very much alive, as highlighted by the inclusion of three contemporary videos.” – Wall Street Journal; “A new exhibit hosted by the Asia Society traces the spread of Buddhist sites across Asia and collects over ninety objects . . . all of which reveal the inner beauty of the works produced in the Buddhist culture of pilgrimage.” – Yale Press

Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul
Asian Art Museum, 2007
“You can go see Indiana Jones and the temple of whatever if you like, but it’s probably not going to be as good as the Bactrian Gold and the Secret of Tillya Tepe.” – The Washington Post; “Revelatory and heart-rending, this show, making a four-city American tour, has much to tell about Afghanistan, past and present. . . . This show is, in a sense, a bundle of good news that only gets better. . . .This triumphant exhibition makes us remember, while demonstrating that every survivor saves much more than just itself: long strands of culture, identity, and history waiting to be woven back together.” – The New York Times

The Legacy of Genghis Khan: Courtly Art and Culture in Western Asia
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2001
“[The exhibit features] hybrid art that illustrates the effect of the Mongol unification of Asia, which is the point of this serious, important, tasteful show.” –The New York Times

Gold Fever
Oakland Museum, 1997
“The three exhibitions that make up ‘Gold Rush! California’s Untold Stories’ at the Oakland Museum will make visitors glad that they live in the California of the late 20th century and not the mid-19th. . . . The lasting impression of the Oakland Museum’s three ambitious shows is a mystery. Why were so many people willing to turn their lives upside down for gold? If these exhibitions set us wondering why we value things as we do, they will more than justify the immense effort behind them.” – San Francisco Chronicle

Splendors of Imperial China, Treasures from the National Palace of Taipei
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994
“Chicago’s true exhibit of the decade . . . viewing it can be completely transformative.” – Chicago Reader; “A must-see, in short, and a must-see again.” –The New York Times

Made in America
The Henry Ford Museum, 1991
“I’ve been to ‘Made in America’ three times now. . . . Each trip provided pleasure and instruction, and each was but a surface scratch; this museum and this exhibit have real depth and range.” – Nicholas Delbanco, American novelist and retired writing professor

El Greco of Toledo
Toledo Museum of Art, 1981
“Such . . . is the state of the paintings and the strength of their installation that there can be few visitors to whom the show will not represent a once-in-a-lifetime experience. . . . Collectively, [the paintings] constitute one of the exhibitions by which our age will be remembered.” – The New York Times; “[The exhibition features] sixty-six paintings, including thirty-two from Spain. . . . the exhibition drew paintings and documents from Spanish churches and monasteries, and from museums and private collections in Europe and America. The exhibition was inspired by the cooperative spirit of the sister cities of Toledo, Spain, and Toledo, Ohio.” – National Gallery of Art

Treasures of Tutankhamun
Museum of Modern Art, 1976
“This exhibition established the term ‘blockbuster.’ A combination of the ageold fascination with ancient Egypt, the legendary allure of gold and precious stones, and the funeral trappings of the boy-king created an immense popular response. Visitors waited up to eight hours before the building opened to view the exhibition.” – National Gallery of Art; “Tutankhamun was a turning point in museum-going. After Tutankhamun, people became permanently interested in museum events.” – Metropolitan Museum of Art