Speech on the Dedication of the East Building of the National Gallery
James Earl Carter Jr., 39th President of the United States of America. In 1971, on a triangular lot once occupied by tennis courts, architect I. M. Pei broke ground on the East Building of the National Gallery of Art. Funds for construction were given by Paul Mellon and the late Ailsa Mellon Bruce, the son and daughter of the founder, and by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The contemporary building was designed to accommodate the Gallery's growing collections and houses an advanced research center, administrative offices, a great library, and a burgeoning collection of drawings and prints. President Jimmy Carter accepted the new building on behalf of the nation in this speech recorded on June 1, 1978.