In 1968 Lloyd Herman had a dream–to dedicate a building near the White House, being renovated by the Smithsonian, as a center for changing exhibitions on craft, design and the decorative arts.
Herman became the founding director of the nation’s craft museum, The Renwick Gallery. With the support of Joshua Taylor, then head of the now-Smithsonian American Art Museum, Herman’s dream opened in January 1972.
Herman mounted ground-breaking Renwick shows such as Woodenworks featuring modern American furniture makers including Wendell Castle and George Nakashima. Glass artist Dale Chihuly had his first solo show at the Renwick. Exhibitions such as Design is… emphasized the Renwick’s embrace of craft, folk art and design.
The Smithsonian Craft Show itself was Herman’s idea –- harnessing the prestige of the Smithsonian for a fundraising exhibition in the nation’s capital to showcase American crafts. The first show was held 40 years ago.