In 2003 the New York State Museum received a donation of over 200 portraits from The Partnership for New York City Inc. The Partnership, formed in 2002, was the successor organization to the New York Chamber of Commerce, chartered in New York City in 1784 as The Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York. That organization originated with a royal charter granted in 1770 by King George III.
The Partnership for New York City Inc. actively sought out an organization willing and able to curate the entire collection, recognizing its historical significance as a whole, as well as the importance of individual works of art. The New York State Museum is the beneficiary of that search.
The Chamber of Commerce portrait collection includes works by distinguished artists from the late 18th century through the mid-20th century, including Matthew Pratt, Daniel Huntington, and Eastman Johnson. The subjects are Chamber members and associates, many of whom were prominent in the fields of business, commerce, and politics. They include Cadwallader Colden, Samuel F. B. Morse, and John Jacob Astor III.