The Great Hall at National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.

Photo: Nicholas Merkelson
The Great Hall at the National Portrait Gallery (Washington, D.C.)
Once the largest room in America, the Great Hall was originally conceived to display miniature models required of inventors when the building housed the United States Patent Office.  The space also served as the first national museum, and it was here that the Declaration of Independence was publicly displayed between 1841 and 1871.  The guests at Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural ball passed through this room to join the receiving line in what is now called the Lincoln Gallery.  Following a disastrous fire in 1877, which severely damaged other portions of the third floor of the building, this area was redone in the American Victorian Renaissance style to which it has now been restored.
BRAVO! showcases individuals who have brought the performing arts to life, beginning with P.T. Barnum, who raised the curtain on modern entertainment in the late-19th century and continuing through the present.
Champions salutes the dynamic American sports figures whose impact has extended the athletic realm and made them a part of the larger story of the nation.  A lively combination of portraits, artifacts, memorabilia and videos enhances both exhibitions.
Casey Stengel, 1890-1975
(Photo: Nicholas Merkelson)
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