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What Is Brandywine River Museum?

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  • Written By: B. Turner
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 21 August 2016
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The Brandywine River Museum is an art gallery that features works by top American and regional artists. It is situated on the site of a key battle of the American Revolution, which has since been transformed into a major nature conservatory. The location is surprisingly rural, despite the fact that it is near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Wilmington, Delaware. The museum features more than 2,500 works, including many by the Wyeth family, who lived in the Brandywine Valley.

In 1971, citizens in the Brandywine River Valley formed the Brandywine Conservancy, which was founded to protect and conserve the local environment and maintain its rural nature. The Conservancy restored a 1864 structure that was once known as Hoffman's Mill into a modern art gallery. A large nature conservatory surrounds this historic grist mill, and features a wide variety of native plants and wildlife.

The museum is packed with still-life paintings, landscapes, and portraits painted by well-known American artists and lesser-known regional painters. Much of the collection at the Brandywine River Museum focuses on the works of a family of local artists known as the Wyeths. Andrew and Jamie Wyeth are known for their realist paintings. The book and magazine illustrations of W.C. Wyeth are also on display here. These illustrations include original drawings and sketches that Wyeth created for classic books like "Treasure Island" and "The Last of the Mohicans."

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In addition to the works of the Wyeths, the Brandywine River Museum includes paintings and drawings by other national and regional artists. It also includes a section dedicated to the history of the Brandywine Valley, and the work of the conservancy. Visitors will also find various special exhibits, such as borrowed works by lesser-known artists or paintings that celebrate a specific theme that is common to American painting styles.

Part of the charm in visiting the Brandywine River Museum lies in taking in its serene, natural surroundings. The Brandywine Conservancy maintains and protects the local area, which is known as the Wildflower and Native Plant Gardens. The entire site sits along the banks of the Brandywine River, and wildflowers and native plants add to the beauty of the region. While at the Brandywine River Museum, visitors may wish to take a side trip to the N.C. Wyeth House and Studio, where Wyeth completed many of his famous illustrations. Another detour takes visitors to Kuerner Farms, where Andrew Wyeth lived and drew inspiration for his many paintings.

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