Do you know D.C.?
Get our free newsletter to stay in the know about local D.C.
The name bestowed upon the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art’s recently acquired exhibition, “The Walt Disney–Tishman African Art Collection” doesn’t quite sound right. It implies that the man behind Song of the South lent a helping hand in amassing one of the rarest and most impressive collections of African art on this side of the world. But in documenting how it came to possess the 525 pieces—which reflect most of the major styles of African art—the museum reveals, not surprisingly, that Walt Disney wasn’t really the sort of man who appreciated things like glass-beaded Yoruba crowns or Idoma multifaced masks. The huge assortment of figures, stools, armlets, and other pieces was actually collected by New York real estate developer Paul Tishman and his wife, Ruth Tishman. The Walt Disney Company purchased the collection from the Tishmans in 1984—long after old Walt’s racist head had been dunked in a cryogenic vat of liquid nitrogen. A “first look” preview of a larger collection that will go on display next year is on view from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily to Sunday, Dec. 3, at the National Museum of African Art, 950 Independence Ave. SW. Free. (202) 633-4600. (Sarah Godfrey)