Baltimore Museum of Art to survey hundreds of community organizations about programming

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Courtesy BMA

Reviving a citywide public survey that took place in the mid-20th century, the Baltimore Museum of Art will ask 300 organizations what kind of programming they want to see in the North Baltimore museum’s halls.

The list includes schools, local religious organizations, civic and social groups, and businesses. Some groups, such as the American Institute of Architects, Enoch Pratt Free Library, McCormick & Company and Maryland Jockey Club, participated in the first survey in the 1930s. Individuals can offer their thoughts here.

The original survey, conducted in 1937, solicited feedback from 225 organizations and got responses from 192 of them. Some of the answers were minor, like the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company’s stated preference for paintings and antique furniture, and McCormick’s request for labels to help identify plants in the museum’s garden.

But the feedback also led to the exhibits “Labor in Art,” “Religious Art” and “Hunting and Racing,” and eventually inspired the museum to collaborate with the Harmon Foundation on 1939’s “Contemporary Negro Art,” one of the first major exhibitions of African American art in the country.

“We are excited to build upon the precedent of community engagement established by the BMA’s leadership during the museum’s first century,” museum director Christopher Bedford said in a statement. “I have no doubt the outcome of the survey will be very enlightening and will help guide us as we work toward reinventing the museum experience for 21st-century visitors.”

Responses are due by June 30.

Brandon Weigel

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