Press release: Richardson Memorial Library celebrates 100 years with centennial events

By | April 15, 2015


ST. LOUIS, April 15—The Saint Louis Art Museum’s Richardson Memorial Library will celebrate its 100th anniversary by hosting learning opportunities for Museum visitors of all ages, including a birthday celebration on Saturday with book-themed activities for children.

The Library opened April 18, 1915 as the result of the first legacy gift ever given to the Museum—a bequest of stocks and bonds valued at the time at about $60,000 from Mary D. Richardson, who wished to honor the memory of her husband, St. Louis businessman J. Clifford Richardson. What started as a collection of 5,000 volumes has grown into a research facility that boasts 140,000 volumes, extensive holdings of auction catalogues and pamphlets documenting the history of artists in St. Louis, and digital access to scholarly articles from around the world.

Unlike many art museum libraries, the Richardson Memorial Library is open to the public. During its public hours—from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Tuesday through Friday—the Library often is used by visiting art historians, university students and local collectors. In addition, the Library staff oversees a network of six Satellite Resource Centers that give educators access to a loan collection of curriculum kits and “touch kits,” which include touchable objects and reproductions that help students learn about art history.

Saturday’s family-friendly birthday event will include  a journal-making activity in Grigg Gallery from 1 pm to 4 pm; family tours of the Museum’s collection at 2:30 pm and 3:15 pm; and storytelling in the Library at 2 pm, 2:30 pm, and 3:30 pm. Books will include Library Mouse: A Museum Adventure and The Day the Crayons Quit.

The celebration follows  Love Your Library, a Thursday evening (April 16) workshop that will introduce area teachers to library resources that can support classroom learning. Teachers will learn to “curate” online collections of art images, and they’ll hear about how they can enhance their lessons by learning advanced techniques for searching electronic, scholarly journals.

On four consecutive Fridays starting April 24, adults can explore all aspects of the book, from codex to contemporary forms, in Rare and Unusual: Discovering the Book Arts in St. Louis. The class, from 10:00 am to 11:30 am, includes visits to the Library and the Museum’s Study Room for Prints, Drawings, and Photographs; as well as the library of the Missouri Botanical Garden, and Washington University’s Nancy Spirtas Kranzberg Studio for the Illustrated Book. The class costs $75 for the general public and $60 for Members. For more information and to register for the class, visit

CONTACT: Matthew Hathaway, 314.655.5493,