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Visit National Academy Museum and School

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The National Academy Museum and School, founded in New York City as the National Academy of Design – known simply as the "National Academy" – is an honorary association of American artists founded in 1825 by Samuel F. B. Morse, Asher B. Durand, Thomas Cole, Martin E. Thompson, and others "to promote the fine arts in America through instruction and exhibition."

The Academy Museum celebrates the visual journey of the arts in America. Marked by discovery, experimentation and innovation, the Museum’s permanent collection—comprised of artist-submitted works—offers profound insights into the story of American art. Through special exhibits, ARTalks and events, the Museum shares the living, growing legacy of the prominent artists and architects in the National Academy.

The original founders of the National Academy of Design were students of the American Academy of the Fine Arts. However, by 1825 the students of the American Academy felt a lack of support for teaching from the Academy, its board composed of merchants, lawyers, and physicians, and from its unsympathetic president, the famous American Revolutionary War artist Colonel John Trumbull. Samuel F. B. Morse and other students set about forming "the drawing association" to meet several times each week for the study the art of design. Still, the association was viewed as a dependent organization of the American Academy, from which they felt neglected. An attempt was made to reconcile the difference and maintain a single academy by appointing six of the artists from the association as directors of the American Academy. When four of the nominees were not elected, however, the frustrated artists resolved to form a new academy and the National Academy of Design was born.