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Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Art Committee records

Identifier: AC-0066

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

This collection contains records including correspondence and meeting minutes produced by the MIT Art Committee.


  • 1960 - 1973


Access note

This collection is open.

Conditions Governing Use

Access to collections in the Department of Distinctive Collections is not authorization to publish. Please see the MIT Libraries Permissions Policy for permission information. Copyright of some items in this collection may be held by respective creators, not by the donor of the collection or MIT.

Historical note

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Art Committee was started by Julius A. Stratton (MIT president, 1959-1966) and was initially known as “Friends of Arts at MIT." Catherine N. Stratton was a founding member of the committee and continued to work actively for many years to secure support for the arts. By 1960 the committee was more organized and used the name Art Committee. Initial projects included working with an existing faculty Museum Committee responsible for Hayden Gallery programs, headed by Professor Herbert Beckwith, and also advising the president on gifts of art. By 1961, the committee also sponsored sales of contemporary art and began building a collection of contemporary art including outdoor sculptures for the MIT campus. The committee studied and advocated for the visual arts, which led to the appointment of a separate Committee on the Visual Arts in 1966 to coordinate the non-curricular program of visual arts at MIT, and the establishment of the Center for Visual Arts in 1967, headed by professor Gyorgy Kepes. The Art Committee was at the same time considering its own future structure and the goal of a larger “arts council” which came into being in 1971 under MIT President Howard Johnson as the “Council for the Arts.” The council was composed of a nationally-based select group of MIT alumni, friends of the arts, faculty, staff, and students. James Killian (MIT president, 1949-1959) and Jerome Wiesner (MIT president, 1971-1980) were also closely involved with the Art Committee and the Council for the Arts. Earlier in 1949, Dr. Wiesner and Dr. Stratton were members of the Committee on Educational Survey, which produced the “Lewis” report that was instrumental in articulating a strong role for the humanities and arts on the MIT campus.


1 Cubic Feet (1 record carton)

Language of Materials



The collection of the Art Committee covers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) covers the period 1960-1973. Materials document committee work and development of programs for the arts at MIT. The records were kept by Catherine N. Stratton (wife of MIT president Julius Stratton), a founder and active member of the Art Committee, and its successor organization, the MIT Council for the Arts. The collection contains correspondence, minutes and agendas of meetings, news releases, news clippings, working notes, and other records concerning the committee's efforts to build a permanent art collection at the Institute, the placement of specific works of art on campus, information about exhibits, and discussion of the visual arts and programs focusing on the visual arts.


Materials are stored off-site. Advance notice is required for use.

Related Materials in the MIT Archives

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Committee on the Visual Arts records (AC 48)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Office of the Arts records (AC 230)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Office of the President, 1959-1966, records of Julius A. Stratton (AC 134)

Catherine N. Stratton papers (MC 426)


  • Art Education for Scientist and Engineer: The Role of the Visual Arts in Modern Education. Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1957, 1964.
Guide to the Records of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Art Committee
Elizabeth Andrews
(Copyright 2010)
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Revision Statements

  • 2021-02-22: Scope and Content note added to comply with DACS single-level requirements by Lana Mason, archives assistant.

Repository Details

Part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Libraries. Department of Distinctive Collections Repository

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
Building 14N-118
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge MA 02139-4307 US