Creating an American Identity

Exhibit Details

Ongoing; Semi-permanent rotating exhibition
Musgrave Wing Galleries

The Springfield Art Museum’s permanent collection contains over 10,000 objects in nearly all media. The works selected for this exhibition were chosen for their ability to reveal the ways in which artists respond to and reveal our cultural identity as Americans. But it is also important to note that the choice to collect these works (why these and not others?), and decision to exhibit them here also presents a sub-narrative revealing a construct of American identity as created by the Museum’s former and current staff.  

The exhibition presents a chronological installation to track shifts in ideas of representation over time but is limited by existing gaps in the collection. There is no singular or fixed American identity. American art and history is shaped by multiple perspectives, stories, and experiences, and as such, this exhibition aims to present a multiplicity of views within the wider context of historical moments. The exhibition includes 75 works from as wide an array of artistic voices as possible within our current collection, including even more works by women, people of color, Native Americans, and LGBTQ+ communities.

This exhibit includes major work by George Caleb Bingham, Asher B. Durand, Jackson Pollock, Wayne Thiebaud, and Alison Saar, among many others.

Related Programs

Guided Tours 
Available Upon Request

Request your own guided group tour, free of charge, by contacting Museum Assistant Shauna Smith at (417) 837-5700 or slsmith@springfieldmo.gov. There is no minimum group number required to schedule a tour. Weekday and Weekend tours are available. Tours generally last one hour.

Creating an American Identity NEW
Creating an American Identity gallery view