The Dubuque Museum of Art will join The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium as a Smithsonian Affiliations site.

Harold Closter, director of Smithsonian Affiliations, made the announcement Tuesday afternoon. He was joined by David Schmitz, executive director of the Dubuque Museum of Art.

“The mission of Smithsonian Affiliations is to bring the Smithsonian into the local community,” Closter said. “To make it easier for people to see what we have and what we do in their neighborhood.”


Closter said the affiliation benefits the Dubuque Museum of Art because it will have a partnership with the world’s largest museum and research center.

“I’ve visited the Dubuque Museum of Art in some of my visits to Dubuque,” Closter said. “I think it’s a very special place. I think Dubuque should be very proud to have a facility such as this in their community.”

Both organizations share interest in the art of Grant Wood and the photography of Edward S. Curtis. The Dubuque museum has works by both artists in its collection, as does the Smithsonian Institution.

“The Dubuque Museum of Art has the most significant and important collection of these artists,” Closter said. “We’re looking at ways to combine our strengths.”

Another connection is the Mississippi River. The Smithsonian Institution has river-centric archaeological and historical documents, and even music..

Access to the collections and knowledge of the people at the Smithsonian Institution is something Schmitz is excited about.

“With this partnership, it gives us a direct connection and the ability to bring traveling exhibitions here,” Schmitz said.

Other plans include more interaction with schools and distance and digital learning.

Schmitz said Dubuque is in good company with other cities across the country that have more than one Smithsonian Affiliate museum in their communities.

“This is another validation of what’s happening in Dubuque,” Schmitz said. “We have a lot of treasures in this community the Smithsonian thinks matters.”