American Legation Museum – Art Retraces from the 17th Century

The American Legation Museum and Research Centre in Morocco is located in the Medina of Tangier, which was a fortified city decades ago. The beautiful Rue d’Amerique lies close to where the museum is situated. In 1821 the Sultan of Morocco, Moulay Suliman, gave this building as a gift to the United States of America. This was a significant event for the U.S. government as it was one of the first pieces of property the government had ever owned from abroad.

The American Legation Museum is not only a building that is full of stories from the past, but it is also a beautiful building architecturally speaking. In the 18th century the American Legation Museum was originally a stone structure. It was later integrated into a complex that had been enlarged. There was also a beautiful courtyard surrounding the building providing an attractive setting for the stone building.

In the 19th century another room was added onto the building, which would later be used as a reception room. Then in 1891 the American Legation Museum was enlarged further when a three-story building was built onto the reception area. Thirty years later, in 1920, properties across the street from the stone building were bought. These properties were improved and enlarged under the supervision of Maxwell Blake (Consul General) producing, in the end, the more than forty-room legation building.

When you enter onto the fourth floor, rooftop room of the American Legation Museum you are provided with a picturesque view of the Straits of Gibraltar and of the harbor. This addition to the Legation building was added in 1999, providing visitors with a 360-degree view of Tangier and surrounding areas. On days when the sky is clear you can also see as far as Tarifa, Allegories (Spanish towns) and the Rif Mountains.

The American Legation Museum has a number of art retraces that originate from the 17th century through to the 20th century. These art retraces provided information on Tangier’s function as a channel between North Africa and Europe. These compilations include the Angus Collection, which features over 700 prints of various countries and more specifically prints of Tangier and historical events that took place in the Medina. Then there is the McBey Collection, which covers the time period from 1901 to 1998. This collection includes a number of paintings from over forty artists originating from eleven countries. The American Legation Museum also has a variety of Moroccan rugs, furniture, maps and photographs.

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