United Nations Art Collection

The United Nations Art Collection is a collective group of artworks and historic objects donated as gifts to the United Nations by its member states, associations, or individuals. These artistic treasures and possessions, mostly in the form of “sculptures, paintings, tapestries and mosaics”, are representative “arts of nations” that are contained and exhibited within the confines of the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, United States, and other duty stations, making the UN and its international territories a "fine small museum".[1][2]

Member states follow a protocol for presenting official gifts to the United Nations. Procedures, speeches, and ceremonies, such as the unveiling of these gifts, are conducted and coordinated by the Protocol and Liaison Service. Ideally, every member nation can only present one offering, and member nations are responsible for the installation of the offered artifacts.[2][3][4]

The official gifts to the United Nations by its member states epitomize the ideals, significance and values of the UN as an international organization.[5]


UN Glass
Peace, a 1964 stained-glass window by Marc Chagall
  • In 1952, a pair of Fernand Léger murals was installed in the General Assembly Hall.[8]
  • War and Peace, two paintings by Brazilian artist Candido Portinari. It does not feature any weapons, but instead features the suffering of victims from war, which illustrates the barbarity of combat. The contrast between the elements of chaos and harmony show how important it is to maintain peace and attempt to end violent conflicts.
  • The Japanese Peace Bell was presented to the United Nations in June 1954 by the United Nations Association of Japan. It was cast from coins collected by people from 60 different countries including children, and housed in a structure resembling a Shinto shrine, made of cypress wood. The bell is rung twice a year: on the first day of Spring, at the Vernal Equinox, and on 21 September to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly.[10]
  • Single Form is a sculpture done by Barbara Hepworth in 1964 as a memorial to the UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld after his death in an air crash in Africa in 1961.
UN art 1

Dove of Peace, presented by Pope John Paul II, on the occasion of his visit to the United Nations, 2 October 1979

Schwerter zu Pflugscharen - Jewgeni Wutschetitsch - Geschenk der Sowjetunion an die UNO - 1959

Let Us Beat Swords into Plowshares by Yevgeny Vuchetich, 1959.

Guernica at the Whitechapel - geograph.org.uk - 1593698

The Guernica tapestry, by Jacqueline de la Baume Dürrbach, on loan to the Whitechapel Gallery in London in 2009

Single Form, UNO New York

Single Form, Barbara Hepworth's 1964 sculpture is displayed in the pool in front of the United Nations Secretariat Building

Conservation and maintenance

The main entity responsible for the conservation of the collection is the UN Arts Committee.[2] The United Nations is assisted, through a special mandate and regulations, by fundraising groups such as the Maecenas World Patrimony Foundation in this endeavor of preserving these artistic and international heritages.[15] However, about 50 gifts, partly close to dissolution, are stored in the basement; and in some cases, have been so for decades.[16]

See also


  1. ^ Frommer's Review: United Nations, New York City Attractions, New York City, Travel Guides, NYTimes.com, retrieved on: August 2, 2007
  2. ^ a b c Marks, Edward B. Art... At Home in the United Nations, UN Chronicle United Nations Publications (1998), Gale Group (2004) and FindArticles.com, Winter 1998 , retrieved on: August 2, 2007
  3. ^ Presentation of Malaysia's Gift to the United Nations, Speech by Dato' Seri Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamad, New York, September 25, 2003, PMO.gov Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, retrieved on: August 2, 2007
  4. ^ The Director-General, Protocol and Liaison Service, United Nations Office at Geneva, UNOG.ch (undated), retrieved on: August 2, 2007
  5. ^ Moore, Lawri Lala. Moorings: The World of United Nations Peoples, Disarmament Exhibit Steals Centre Stage, UN.org, 2002, retrieved on: August 2, 2007
  6. ^ Garten, UN Photo/Mark (24 October 2005). "Chagall Peace Window Dedication Ceremony". www.unmultimedia.org. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  7. ^ Chagall Stained-Glass, United Nations Cyber School Bus, United Nations, UN.org, 2001 Archived April 13, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, retrieved on: August 4, 2007
  8. ^ An 'element of inspiration and calm' at UN Headquarters - art in the life of the United Nations Retrieved October 13, 2010
  9. ^ Norman Rockwell Mosaic, United Nations Cyber School Bus, United Nations, UN.org, 2001 Archived March 19, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, retrieved on: August 4, 2007
  10. ^ "Japanese Peace Bell". United Nations Cyberschoolbus. New York: United Nations. 2001. Archived from the original on 2010-07-10. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  11. ^ Swords Into Plowshares, United Nations Cyber School Bus, United Nations, UN.org, 2001 Archived July 10, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, retrieved on: August 4, 2007
  12. ^ "Art and Architecture at the UN". Retrieved 9 August 2010.
  13. ^ "In praise of ... Guernica". The Guardian. 2009-03-26. Retrieved 2017-07-12.
  14. ^ David Cohen, Hidden Treasures: What's so controversial about Picasso's Guernica?, Slate.com Retrieved October 17, 2010
  15. ^ Maecenas World Patrimony Foundation Archived 2011-07-06 at the Wayback Machine, CelestialSphere.ch, 2005, retrieved on: August 2, 2007
  16. ^ Frithjof Ehm, "Art of the World. The Art Collection of the United Nations" Archived 2011-01-02 at the Wayback Machine, in: Prague Leaders Magazine N° 1/2010, p. 77-79.
Center for Jewish History

The Center for Jewish History is a partnership of five Jewish history, scholarship, and art organizations in New York City: American Jewish Historical Society, American Sephardi Federation, Leo Baeck Institute New York, Yeshiva University Museum, and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. Together, housed in one location, the partners have separate governing bodies and finances, but collocate resources. The partners' collections make up the biggest repository of Jewish history in the United States. The Center for Jewish History serves as a centralized place of scholarly research, events, exhibitions, and performances. Located within the Center are the Lillian Goldman Reading Room, Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute and a Collection Management & Conservation Wing. The Center for Jewish History is also an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.

Children's Museum of Manhattan

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan was founded by Bette Korman, under the name GAME (Growth Through Art and Museum Experience), in 1973. With New York City in a deep fiscal crisis, and school art, music, and cultural programs eliminated, a loosely organized, group of artists and educators set up a basement storefront to serve Harlem and the Upper West Side. With a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a city-owned courthouse was renovated into a small exhibition, studio, and workshop and renamed the Manhattan Laboratory Museum. The museum became the Children’s Museum of Manhattan in the 1980s and moved to its current location on West 83rd Street in 1989. Its audience has grown to 325,000 visitors each year, which includes 30,000 children who visit as part of a school group and more than 34,000 children served through offsite outreach programs.

Drawing Center

The Drawing Center is a Manhattan, New York, museum and a nonprofit exhibition space that focuses on the exhibition of drawings, both historical and contemporary.

Dyckman House

The Dyckman House, now the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum, is the oldest remaining farmhouse on Manhattan island, a reminder of New York City's rural past. The Dutch Colonial-style farmhouse was built by William Dyckman, c.1785, and was originally part of over 250 acres (100 ha) of farmland owned by the family. It is now located in a small park at the corner of Broadway and 204th Street in the Inwood neighborhood of the city.

Forbes Galleries

The Forbes Galleries, housed within the Forbes Building on Fifth Avenue between West 12th and 13th Streets in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, United States, was the home of Malcolm Forbes' collection, which the Forbes family continued to exhibit following his death.The galleries closed in November 2014.The collection stemmed from Forbes' lifelong collection of toys, most of which have since been auctioned off. Among the museum's notable exhibits over time included "Olympic Gold", a collection of medals and other collectibles from some of the world's most accomplished Olympians, a number of Faberge Eggs, an armada of 500 ships and 12,000 toy soldiers and one of the original Monopoly boards.The museum was more popular with visitors than it was with New Yorkers.

Frick Collection

The Frick Collection is an art museum located in the Henry Clay Frick House on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, New York City at 1 East 70th Street, at the northeast corner with Fifth Avenue. It houses the collection of industrialist Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919).

FusionArts Museums

FusionArts Museum(s), first founded at 57 Stanton Street on Manhattan's Lower East Side are a series of curated exhibition spaces dedicated to the exhibition and archiving of "fusion art". The museum was and remains at its successive locations a not-for-profit gallery operated by Converging Arts Media Organization, a not-for-profit arts organization which promotes emerging American and international fusion artists. Though the initial space in Manhattan was converted into a commercial art gallery in 2012 and is currently not operating as a Fusionarts museum, other spaces in Prague, Czech, Republic and Easton, Pennsylvania are.

George Gustav Heye Center

The George Gustav Heye Center is a branch of the National Museum of the American Indian in Manhattan, New York City. The museum is part of the Smithsonian Institution. The Center features contemporary and historical exhibits of art and artifacts by and about Native Americans.

Girl Scout Museum and Archives

The Girl Scout Museum and Archives is part of the Girl Scout National Historic Preservation Center at the Girl Scouts headquarters located at 420 Fifth Avenue in New York City. It was founded in 1987 to promote and preserve scouting history and its collection dates back to 1912 when the Girl Scouts were founded. The museum holds more than 60,000 photos, 7,000 publications, 650 uniforms and an a/v collection dating back to 1918.

Japanese Peace Bell

The Japanese Peace Bell is a United Nations peace symbol. Cast on November 24, 1952, it was an official gift of the Japanese people to the United Nations on June 8, 1954. The symbolic bell of peace was donated by Japan to the United Nations at a time when Japan had not yet been officially admitted to the United Nations. The Japanese Peace Bell was presented to the United Nations by the United Nations Association of Japan.


Mmuseumm is a modern natural history museum located in lower Manhattan in New York City, dedicated to its signature curatorial style of "Object Journalism." The first two locations are on Cortlandt Alley between Franklin Street and White Street, sometimes known as Mmuseumm Alley. Mmuseumm is dedicated to the curation and exhibition of contemporary artifacts to illustrate the modern world. Mmuseumm's first wing, Mmuseumm 1, opened in 2012 in a former elevator shaft. The second wing, Mmuseumm 2, opened in 2015 three doors down. It was founded by Alex Kalman, son of Maira Kalman, and the Safdie brothers. The museum is accessible 24 hours a day via peepholes in its door.

Museum of Arts and Design

The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), based in Manhattan, New York City, collects, displays, and interprets objects that document contemporary and historic innovation in craft, art, and design. In its exhibitions and educational programs, the Museum celebrates the creative process through which materials are crafted into works that enhance contemporary life.

Museum of Primitive Art

The Museum of Primitive Art, is a now defunct museum devoted to the early arts of the indigenous cultures of Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania. It was founded in 1954 by Nelson Rockefeller, who donated his own collection of Tribal art. The museum opened to the public in 1957 in a townhouse on at 15 West 54th Street in New York City. Robert Goldwater (1907–1973) was the museum’s first director. The museum closed in 1976, and its collections were transferred to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Museum of Sex

The Museum of Sex, also known as MoSex, is a sex museum located at 233 Fifth Avenue at the corner of East 27th Street in Manhattan, New York City. It opened on October 5, 2002.

National Academy of Design

The National Academy of Design is an honorary association of American artists, founded in New York City in 1825 by Samuel Morse, Asher Durand, Thomas Cole, Martin E. Thompson, Charles Cushing Wright, Ithiel Town, and others "to promote the fine arts in America through instruction and exhibition."

Nicholas Roerich Museum

The Nicholas Roerich Museum in New York City is dedicated to the works of Nicholas Roerich, a Russian-born artist whose work focused on nature scenes from the Himalayas. The museum is located in a brownstone at 319 West 107th Street on Manhattan's Upper West Side. The museum was originally located in the Master Apartments at 103rd Street and Riverside Drive, which were built especially for Roerich in 1929.Currently, the museum includes between 100 and 200 of Roerich's works as well as a collection of archival materials and still attracts pilgrims from throughout the world. The mission of the Nicholas Roerich Museum is essentially a narrow one: to make available to the public the full range of Roerich’s accomplishments. These, however, are not narrow; they cover the realms of art, science, spirituality, peacemaking, and more. Because Roerich’s activities ranged widely, so do the Museum’s.

Single Form

Single Form (BH 325) is a monumental bronze sculpture by the British artist Barbara Hepworth. It is her largest work, and one of her most prominent public commissions, displayed since 1964 in a circular water feature that forms a traffic island at the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York City, outside the United Nations Secretariat Building and the Dag Hammarskjöld Library. It is also the largest artwork cast by the Morris Singer foundry.

Copies of a smaller version, Single Form (Memorial) (BH 314), are on public display outside the Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. and in Battersea Park in London. The version in Battersea Park was granted a Grade II* listing in January 2016.

Yeshiva University Museum

The Yeshiva University Museum is a teaching museum and the cultural arm of Yeshiva University. Along with the American Jewish Historical Society, the American Sephardi Federation, the Leo Baeck Institute, New York and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, it is a member organization of the Center for Jewish History, a Smithsonian Institution affiliate located in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood.

United Nations System
Members and observers
Museums in Manhattan
Financial District and Battery Park
(Below Chambers St)
Lower Manhattan
(Chambers-14th Sts)
Chelsea, Flatiron, Gramercy
(14th-34th Sts)
(34th-59th Sts)
Upper West Side
(59th-125th Sts west of 5th Av)
Upper East Side and East Harlem
(59th-125th Sts along or east of 5th Av)
Upper Manhattan
(Above 125th St)

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.