Skip to main content

Post-WPA. Arensberg Galleries (section 7). Correspondence and other papers, 1950

 File — Box: 131, Folder: 13

Scope and Contents

From the Sub-Series:

Construction projects initiated before and after the WPA relief programs are documented here.

With the shell of the building finished in 1927, the projects documented here begin with the demanding completion of the museum's vast interior. Within the Pre-WPA project files, most of the correspondence is between Erling Pedersen, Kimball's assistant, and Charles Borie of the firm Trumbauer, Zantzinger and Borie. (The firm is identified here by its authorized citation of Zantzinger, Borie and Medary.) A few vendors and suppliers are also represented, such as Enfield Pottery and Tile Works. In addition to the construction of various period rooms, work on the museum's second floor Medieval section was also planned and completed during this time and documented in the correspondence of 1930 to 1931. Although the correspondence offers many details regarding the numerous projects, there is no documentation of costs. The November 1934 issue of the Museum Bulletin offers a summary of the construction projects completed during this time as well as photographs and drawings.

The earliest folders of the Post-WPA subgroup begin with the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, and Kimball's request for $3.5 million to complete the interior. The remaining files document specific construction projects. For these projects, Kimball relied on the same person he did 25 years earlier--Erling H. Pedersen. By 1950, Pedersen established his own architectural firm in Philadelphia, and by October 1952 he formed a professional partnership with Alfred N. Richards, Jr. Pedersen's first commission in 1950 was to construct galleries for the newly acquired art collections of Walter and Louise Stevens Arensberg. In most of the correspondence, the Arensberg gallery space is usually referred to as "Section 7." A few drawings and the original contract between Pedersen and the Fairmount Park Commission are also included.

Other museum construction projects handled by Pedersen and Richards include a Print Gallery, a Miniature Gallery, the Dutch Gallery and repair of a large window. Most of the documentation deals with costs. There are no drawings, except for two floor plans of the "Wharton Sinkler Room." Pedersen and Richards also designed plans for Sections 1 and 2 of the museum, which included the Chinese scholar's study, Chinese temple and gallery, the Japanese temple, garden and teahouse, and areas to show and store study collection objects. There are floor plans for both sections as well as the Japanese galleries.


  • 1950

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research. Because of its fragile condition, the following item may only be consulted with permission of the Archivist: floor plan with annotations of PMA Gothic installations (in "Objects and related topics" series, "European decorative arts and arms and armor" subseries, "Rooms and architectural elements" sub-subseries, "England. Gothic installations at PMA, incl. Abergavenny, Wales" file).


From the Series: 4.5 linear feet

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English