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Hugh Talman/National Museum of American History via the Associated Press

The “Giving in America” display case that includes Thomas’s score for Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (Hugh Talman/National Museum of American History via the Associated Press

As reported on this blog last week, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Rosenthal Archives has loaned a very special artifact from its collections to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.: the score of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony that Theodore Thomas—our founder and first music director—likely used for the Chicago Orchestra‘s inaugural concerts at the Auditorium Theatre on October 16 and 17, 1891.

As part of the Smithsonian’s long-term Philanthropy Initiative announced on #GivingTuesday, the new display—“Giving in America”—will be on exhibit at the National Museum of American History through November 2016.

Showcasing the role of philanthropy in shaping American civic culture—including museums, libraries, orchestras, universities, and hospitals—are several artifacts. These include a plaster bust of Andrew Carnegie along with a register book listing the 1,600 libraries he financed; a House of Worth gown designed by Charles Frederick Worth in 1881 for the philanthropist Mary Eno Pinchot; and a nurse’s cap worn by a Johns Hopkins School of Nursing student (circa 1945); along with the Beethoven score from the Theodore Thomas collection.

According to an article in Mashable, “A grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a gift from David M. Rubenstein fund the Smithsonian’s Philanthropy Initiative, with an annual symposium, display space, and the endowment of a curatorial position . . . The museum, which is located in Washington, D.C., will open a long-term exhibition in late November 2016. In the meantime, ‘Giving in America’ will give a preview of ways giving has shaped civic culture both in the Gilded Age and the present day.”

The story was carred by numerous new outlets, including CBS NewsABC NewsThe Christian Science Monitor, and Liberty Voice, among several others.

the vault

Theodore Thomas


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