Art Museums Worcester Ma Museums Museums and Galleries

The Worcester Art Museum:
Stroll Through Time and Peek Into Cultures

The Worcester Art Museum houses thirty-five galleries containing mosaics, prints, paintings, fabrics, pottery, sculpture, photographs and drawings. Worcester’s Art Museum opened the first American portrait miniatures display in its New England gallery in 1998 while celebrating its 100th birthday.

Stephen Salisbury III founded the museum in 1898 for the study and appreciation of art by all people. Today, it houses over 35,000 pieces of art which represent many cultures and creative abilities spanning over 50 centuries. This art museum is internationally famous for the depth of its expansive collection.

Displays From Ancient Peoples

Sculptures and ornamental decorator arts are housed in the area called Renaissance Court. Displays include pieces from the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Rome and Greece. One area of this Court is set aside for the most superb American collection of Antiochin mosaics.

Supplementing this permanent collection, the museum showcases traveling exhibits. Other museums and private collectors send exhibits from all over the world filling a wide spectrum that ranges from American folk art, Impressionist and Abstract paintings, African textiles and Old Master prints.

Middle Age to Modern Art

An area devoted to the European Middle Ages also houses a Romanesque Chapter House from the twelfth century. This medieval structure was the first of many to be brought to the New World. The structure is surrounded by galleries containing frescos, paintings and liturgical items from Europe’s middle ages.

John Chandler Bancroft’s collection of Japanese prints helped establish the Asian collection when they were presented at his bequest to the museum in 1901. Over the years, sculptures, ceramics, paintings, prints and fabric have been added to the Asian collection. These artifacts represent major period milestones of the Chinese, Indian, Japanese and Persian cultures.

Photograph Collection

The Worcester Art Museum was one of the first museums to recognize photography as part of the fine art medium and was one of the first to collect, store and exhibit photographs. This collection runs the gamut of photographic history starting about the time of the Civil War and continuing to the present day.

Notable works such as those by Matthew Brady, Alfred Steiglitz and Garry Winogrand are part of the rotating displays in the museum. They are exhibited in the twentieth century galleries, next to some of the giants of Modern Art including (but not limited to) Milton Avery, Thomas Hart Benton, Ellsworth Kelly, Franz Kline, Kenneth Noland, Georgia O’Keeffe and Charles Sheeler.

Art Museum Amenities

While on a tour of the museum, you can also arrange to meet friends at the Museum Caf or pick up memorabilia in the Museum Gift Shop. No visit would be complete without touring the Higgins Education Center or the Museum Library.

The Museum Library primarily serves the museum staff. This library was founded in 1909 and is a non-circulating bibliographic collection that is dedicated to the history of art. Although its primary mission is to serve the research needs of the staff, its reach does extend to teachers and students, faculty, museum docents, scholars, collectors and the general public.