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The Terra Museum of American Art was an art museum founded by Daniel J. Terra in Evanston, Illinois in 1980. The museum was relocated to Chicago in 1987. Charged by the Terra Foundation for the Arts, now known as the Terra Foundation for American Art, with exhibiting and interpreting original works of American art, the museum opened to the public in 1980. During its tenure, the museum presented more than 200 exhibitions on American art and provided related programs and events for schoolchildren, teachers, families, general adult audiences, and scholars. The museum closed on October 31, 2004 after 24 years of operation. The site is being redeveloped as a condo/hotel tower for the Ritz-Carlton.
Terra first exhibited his personal art collection in 1977 at the Palmer Museum of Art, on the campus of Pennsylvania State University, his alma mater. In 1980, with a collection of approximately fifty paintings, a small governing board of directors, and a handful of employees, the foundation opened the Terra Museum of American Art in Evanston, Illinois. The museum both displayed the foundation’s collection and held special exhibitions of American art. Two years later, in recognition of his efforts in promoting American art and culture, among other contributions, Daniel Terra was appointed Ambassador-at-Large for Cultural Affairs — a position created specifically for him by President Ronald Reagan.
The museum's collection of fifty canvases grew to encompass hundreds of paintings and works on paper. In 1987, the Terra Museum of American Art moved from suburban Evanston to a busy stretch of Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago, and in 1992 the foundation opened the Musée d’Art Américain Giverny in France. Ambassador Terra had a longstanding interest in the work of artists associated with the Norman village of Giverny, the site of a popular international artists colony beginning in the late-nineteenth century and home to celebrated French painter Claude Monet. The Musée d’Art Américain Giverny, open spring through fall, first exhibited paintings from the Terra collection by American artists who sojourned in France. Soon, however, exhibition and education programs encompassed a wider range of American artists and topics, most with a transatlantic focus.
In addition to supporting the exhibition and education programs of two museums, the Terra Foundation has fostered scholarship on American art by underwriting scholarly symposia and publications and by awarding dissertation fellowships, research assistantships, and other education grants. Many of these awards have been offered in partnership with institutions such as the College Art Association, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art. Since 2001, the foundation has administered the Terra Summer Residency program in Giverny, which affords scholars and artists the opportunity to work within a community of interdisciplinary and cross-cultural exchange.
Museum closing 
In 2003, after conducting a comprehensive two-year study to plan the foundation’s future mission and goals, the board of directors of the Terra Foundation for American Art decided to expand the reach of the foundation and to close the Terra Museum in Chicago at the end of October 2004.
Before the museum closed, Judith Terra, the founder's widow and his second wife, plus several board members, tried to relocate the museum to Washington, D.C. This attempt was viewed by many, including the founder's son, as an attempt to boost her social standing in the nation's capital. The matter was ended in 2004, through a legal case with the foundation required to stay in the state of Illinois for 50 years.
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