Gene Moore Window Archives Now Housed on Smithsonian Site
December 4, 2017
For any budding visual merchandiser looking for historic inspiration, the photo archives of the legendary window designs from Gene Moore, iconic Tiffany & Co. window designer, are now available to the public for viewing thanks to The Smithsonian.
Moore retired from Tiffany & Co. in 1994 after 39 years of escalating the brand in various capacities from window displays to jewelry designs. In 1997, Tom Beebe, one of Gene Moore’s protégés, asked Moore to entertain the idea of giving his 39-year archives of his work to the Cooper-Hewitt Museum (a Smithsonian institution), to help recognize display as design.
“He agreed, and the board of the CHM accepted the 78 albums,” said Beebe. “I was with Gene the day the collection was being picked up, and he was excited his work was part of design history.”
But the archives remained relatively untouched in a storage facility in Washington, D.C., until Beebe began a quest to have them found and brought back to life. He worked diligently over the last several years with The Smithsonian and various industry players to ensure Moore’s works could be made open to the public. Working with David Haberstitch, curator of photography, archives center, for the National Museum of American History (a Smithsonian Institution), Beebe diligently helped rescue these historical treasures from storage box to real life. Thanks to generous donations by William Rondina, as well as Daniel Gelman of Lighting Services Inc, the decades worth of Moore’s window photos were all digitally scanned and uploaded into the Smithsonian archive, with a finding aid for research purposes.
In August of 2017, photos of Moore’s 4,703 windows were made available to the public after months of digital scanning, now part of American culture and open for viewing at: http://sova.si.edu/record/NMAH.AC.1280#summary
Recalls Beebe, “Mr. Moore’s mantra was ‘Everything you are goes into a window—I am my window, and my window is me.’”