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Making History: Women of the Art Institute

July 5, 2011–September 5, 2011
Ryerson and Burnham Libraries (Not open for viewing Saturdays and Sundays)

This exhibition showcases archival items linked to eight women who made significant contributions to the Art Institute, or who had a lifelong association with the museum or school. Three curators (Bessie Bennett, Katharine Kuh, and Christa Mayer Thurman), three donors (Kate Buckingham, Annie Swan Coburn, and Margaret Day Blake), one teacher/author (Helen Gardner), and one artist (Georgia O’Keeffe) put their stamp on this institution, often without much fanfare or public recognition. Bessie Bennettt was the first female curator in a major U.S. museum; Helen Gardner wrote Art through the Ages while an instructor at the school; and Annie Swan Coburn enriched the museum’s permanent collection with a fabulous gift of first-rate Impressionist paintings. The stories of these women are told through the display of material from the museum’s Institutional Archives.

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Art Institute students working on a mural painting in 1918.