The Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

"It would be no exaggeration to say that the founding of the Renwick Gallery in 1972 was among the crowning achievements of the Studio Craft movement. Throughout the country, momentum had been steadily growing around craft since the end of World War II, and by the late 1960s, craft fairs dotted the landscape, craft schools and university programs were numerous and thriving, and disparate communities, brought together by the American Craft Council and magazines like its associated Craft Horizons, felt united like never before. The communal, counterculture spirit of the ‘60s served to bolster the movement, and these developments led to simultaneous renaissances in all manner of practices from glass blowing to wood turning to wheel throwing, from blacksmithing to basket weaving. But while interest in the crafts had never been higher, there were only a handful of small exhibitions and even fewer museums devoted to the subject.

Then in 1969, the landmark exhibition Objects USA began its international tour at the National Collection of Fine Arts, (now the Smithsonian American Art Museum) causing a stir and setting the scene for the Renwick’s entry into the Smithsonian family. A joint venture of the S. C. Johnson and Son Company and curator Lee Nordess, Objects USAsought to raise the status of the craft to the realm of fine art, and it largely succeeded in doing so. Visitors flocked to the show to see handmade household objects from chairs to chafing dishes, some functional and some shockingly dysfunctional, which the museum displayed in room-like scenes and elevated to distinction within the galleries." SAAM