Inaugural Exhibition - Rotunda and Armor Court. IML 963840
  • Inaugural Exhibition - Rotunda and Armor Court. IML 963840
  • Rotunda - Classical Art. IML 963825
  • Gallery I - Colonial Art, including early American Silver. IML 963821
  • Gallery II - Gothic Art. IML 963829
  • Gallery III - Renaissance Art. IML 963809
  • Gallery IV - A Collection of Paintings given by Mrs. Liberty E. Holden. IML 963839
  • Gallery V - Painters: Dutch and Spanish. IML 963834
  • Gallery VI - Painters: French. IML 963814
  • Gallery VII - Painters: English. IML 963837
  • Gallery VIII - Painters: American, 19th Century. IML 963817
  • Gallery IX - Painters: American, Contemporary. IML 963820
  • Gallery X - The Freer Collection, lent by the Smithsonian Institution. IML 963818
  • Gallery XI - The W.S. and J.T. Spaulding Collection of Surimono Japanese Paintings. IML 963827
  • Gallery XII - Art of the Near East. IML 963826
  • Gallery XIII - Chinese Art. IML 963808
  • Gallery XIV - Japanese Art. IML 963824
  • Gallery XV - Ancient Egyptian Art. IML 963823
  • Court of Tapestries and Armor - Eight Tapestries: The Story of Dido and Aeneas, Gift of Mrs. Dudley Peter Allen; Arms and Armor, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John L. Severance. IML 433199
  • Garden Court. IML 963828

Cleveland Museum of Art: Inaugural Exhibition

At 9:00am on Wednesday June 7, 1916, the "building and its contents were thrown open to the general public" (Inaugural catalog). The first visitors to the museum were greeted with an exhibition of objects loaned from private collections, museums and dealers from all over the country which filled every gallery.

Collecting for the new Cleveland Museum of Art started immediately upon incorporation. Objects were donated beginning in 1914, with a collection of laces from Jeptha Homer Wade II. Objects were also purchased from dealers and through agents worldwide, but the collection was still small. In addition to borrowing art to fill the museum, the Inaugural Exhibition also served as a wish list of objects the museum wanted. Art dealers loaned many objects to the exhibition which were for sale and were, "secured in the hope that friends might be interested to acquire them as gifts to the museum" (Inaugural catalog).

The main floor galleries were installed by collection, time period or nationality. Many of the galleries retained these designations when objects from the permanent collection were installed.

The Inaugural Exhibition was on view from June 6 to September 20, 1916. By the closing of the exhibition, 191,547 visitors had come to the new museum to view the exhibition, with nearly 9,000 visitors on the last day alone (First 50 Years).

Collection in Focus Category: 
Museum History