The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announced today that the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art in Washington, D.C., has won the first Don Tyson Prize. The award comes with $200,000 and recognizes an achievement in American art.
The Archives of American Art is, among other things, an invaluable resource for writers, students, academics, and researchers. Though the institution has a physical space in Washington, D.C., it is perhaps more widely known for its rich website, which has on it lengthy oral histories and some 2.5 million digital images, all available to the public for free.
“We are enormously honored and humbled to have been chosen for the inaugural Don Tyson Prize,” Kate Haw, the director of the Archives of American Art, said in a statement. “This recognition from the Tyson Prize jurors and Crystal Bridges, which itself is doing such important work to advance our field, is very gratifying to our creative and committed staff, who have worked for more than 60 years to collect and share the riches of the Archives for all those who are interested in American art.”
The Don Tyson Prize comes out of the Tyson Scholars of American Art program, which was established by the Tyson family, of Tyson Foods fame. (Don Tyson was formerly the CEO of the company; he died in 2011. His son, John, collects American art and is currently on Crystal Bridges’s board of directors.) In 2012, the Tyson family grave Crystal Bridges $5 million, which will continue to endow the prize.