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Historical Note | A Finding Aid to the Municipal Art Society of New York records, 1901-1960

Municipal Art Society of New York records, 1901-1960

Historical Note

The Municipal Art Society of New York is a private organization that was founded in 1893 to beautify New York City streets, parks, and public places in ways both practical and artistic through projects supported by member dues. The society regularly held competitions for artists to create murals and sculptures to decorate public buildings, and exhibited artists' public works. Members of the society spearheaded efforts to preserve, improve, and maintain public buildings, monuments, and parks; create and maintain street signage and fixtures; regulate zoning; plan thoroughfares; and advocate for public housing. Interests of the society also included establishing a housing authority, slum clearance, and post-World War II planning. The Municipal Art Society of New York continues to influence urban planning and historic preservation into the 21st century, and is known for their architectural tours of New York CIty.