The Cleveland Museum of Art

Box List

Records of the Construction of the Cleveland Museum of Art: 1916 Building

Background Information

The founding of The Cleveland Museum of Art was truly a collaborative effort. During the last two decades of the nineteenth century, wealthy Cleveland businessmen John Huntington, Horace Kelley, and Hinman Hurlbut left substantial bequests in their wills to establish an art museum. In 1892 Jeptha Wade II gave eight acres of land to the city of Cleveland "for the construction and maintenance of an art gallery and school." Over the next two decades, the trustees of the Huntington, Kelley, and Hurlbut estates worked towards reconciling the legal stipulations of the wills to finance the construction of a single art museum on the land that Wade donated.

In June 1905 the trustees reached a preliminary agreement. Encouraged by the progress of the negotiations, E.R. Perkins, president of the Huntington trust, appointed a six-man building committee to select an architect and review prospective building plans. The committee subsequently chose the local firm of Hubbell & Benes to design the new museum, but it also retained Edmund Wheelwright, consulting architect for Boston's newly completed Museum of Fine Arts, as an advisor to the project.