Bob Ross has joined Julia Childs and Mr. Rogers in the Smithsonian museums permanent collection. Eventually (soon?) a Bob Ross exhibit will be featured alongside these icons of public television.
The oil landscapes housed at the company’s Herndon, Virginia, headquarters may not be available for purchase, but Bob Ross Inc. did just donate an array of artwork and artifacts to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History earlier this year. The items include a 1994 painting titled “Blue Ridge Falls,” a 1988 canvas titled “On a Clear Day,” a converted stepladder used as an easel during “The Joy of Painting”’s first season, handwritten notebooks, and fan letters written to the popular TV personality before and after he died of lymphoma in 1995 at age 52.
“These letters help reveal the significant impact Ross has had on diverse individuals and communities, helping them to express and feel better about themselves,” says Eric Jentsch, the museum’s entertainment and sports curator.
The American History Museum has no active plans to exhibit the new acquisitions, but as the video states, the artifacts—now part of the institution’s permanent collection—will eventually be featured alongside the work of American icons such as Julia Childs and Mr. Rogers.