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American Art and Material Culture

Albert Bierstadt’s Hetch Hetchy Canyon, a masterpiece of American landscape painting, was the first gift to the MHCAM at its founding in 1876. The Museum’s collection of 18th-, 19th-, and early 20th-century art and material culture has grown since that time to reflect aesthetic tastes and trends, the influences of global exchange, and the daily experiences of artists and makers from every period of American history. Highlights include the early 18th-century Editha Kellogg (EK) Hadley chest; an important pastel by American Impressionist William Merritt Chase; Elie Nadelman’s Ideal Head of a Woman; Thomas Hart Benton’s 1930 oil study Steel for his America Today murals; and the extensive holdings of the Joseph Allen Skinner Museum, which includes furniture, decorative arts, folk portraits, books, and pre-industrial American tools, as well as objects of Native American material culture.