Wells Fargo has announced the donation of $1 million and historical artifacts from its corporate collection to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture (NMAAHC). The artifacts, a collection of two mining stock certificates and one piece of letterhead featuring the work of African-American artist, Grafton Tyler Brown, will be displayed in the NMAAHC’s inaugural exhibition scheduled to open in September.

Brown was an American painter, lithographer and cartographer who owned and operated his lithography company in San Francisco from 1867 to 1879. He was the first African-American artist to create works depicting the Pacific Northwest and California. During this time, he created lithographs for stock certificates and letterheads for numerous companies in the area.

A Wells Fargo employee shows a student an actual stock certificate created by an African-American artist in the mid-1800’s.

A Wells Fargo employee shows a student an actual stock certificate created by an African-American artist in the mid-1800’s.

The mining stock certificates and letterhead come directly from the Wells Fargo History Museum collection, which showcases the company’s shared history with communities in a network of 11 museums across the U.S., and will accompany a Brown oil painting already in the NMAAHC collection (View of Lake Okanagan (British Columbia), 1882).

Together, these items will help tell the story of the artist and will be part of the exhibition, “Visual Art and the American Experience.”

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