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National Portrait Gallery announces new special multi-platform collaboration
Alanson Fisher, Harriet Beecher Stowe, (1811–1896). Oil on canvas, 1853. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.



WASHINGTON, DC.- The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and The Atlantic announce a new, multi-platform collaboration titled “Perspectives: The Atlantic’s Writers at the National Portrait Gallery.” As part of the reinstallation of the museum’s permanent collection galleries, the Portrait Gallery and The Atlantic will highlight a selection of the country’s founding voices in literature, politics, philosophy and culture with interpretive wall texts written by some of The Atlantic’s contemporary writers and editors. The project will premiere in person and online beginning July 1 with the reopening of the museum’s “Out of Many: Portraits from 1600 to 1900” exhibition, and it will coincide with the magazine’s 165th anniversary year.

The collaboration will present commentary from The Atlantic’s writers reflecting on the work and legacy of prior Atlantic contributors whose portraits are on view at the museum, such as Louisa May Alcott, Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis. The new wall texts, written by The Atlantic’s journalists, will draw connections between the magazine’s historic focus on abolition, its current engagement with social justice and civil rights, and the museum’s many portraits of diverse activists. Also included will be the likenesses of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Harriet Beecher Stowe, three of the founders who established The Atlantic in Boston in 1857.

Visitors will be able to experience these portraits at the museum or virtually through an online tour complete with additional audio descriptions read by each author. Beginning July 1, eight portraits will be on view in “Out of Many: Portraits from 1600 to 1900” on the Portrait Gallery’s first floor, with five others installed in the museum’s second- and third-floor galleries. The online tour will include the 13 artworks on view in the museum alongside additional portraits for the project’s full suite of more than 20 sitters and a project video. Other newly interpreted portraits will be installed throughout the museum in the coming years.

“History is always changing and evolving depending on who holds the pen,” said Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery. “It’s a pleasure to collaborate with The Atlantic’s writers for their perspective on these historic figures.”

“The Atlantic has been central to the intellectual, cultural and political life of our country for 165 years,” said Jeffrey Goldberg, the magazine’s editor in chief. “Our partners at the National Portrait Gallery have performed a great service by highlighting our writers and their contributions to the progress of the American experiment.”

“Perspectives: The Atlantic’s Writers at the National Portrait Gallery” is the latest endeavor between the museum and The Atlantic. The two entities will also collaborate on public programs in the coming year, and the Portrait Gallery will host writers on season four of the museum’s PORTRAITS podcast.

“Out of Many: Portraits from 1600 to 1900” is sponsored by Ann S. and Samuel M. Mencoff and the Terra Foundation for American Art.










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