What Is the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts?

Vicki Hogue-Davies

The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, which is in Montgomery, Alabama, houses more than 4,000 works of art in its permanent collection. Specializing in American art from the 18th through 21st centuries, the museum’s collection also includes European prints and porcelain as well as glass pieces from China, England and elsewhere. Traveling exhibits from other American museums round out the museum’s offerings, and the museum takes traveling exhibits of its collection to other museums. Art education is an important part of the museum’s mission, and educational programs are available for children and adults.

The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts contains several works by Rembrandt.
The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts contains several works by Rembrandt.

The museum's permanent collection includes works by some of the United States' most important artists, as well as regional and folk art. Water and oil paintings by American master Winslow Homer and portrait artist Charles Wilson Peale, as examples, share museum space with self-taught artists from Alabama. Some of the regional artists represented at the museum include Bill Traylor, who was born into slavery, and local landscape painter J. Kelly Fitzpatrick. A quilt collection that includes more than 60 quilts from 20th-century Alabama quilters is a highlight of the museum's folk art collection.

European printmakers are highlighted in the museum's “Old Masters” print collection, which includes lithographs, engravings, etchings and other works from the 15th to 19th centuries. The works of famous Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn, who also was a printmaker, can be viewed at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. Among the other well-known artists whose works are included in the print collection are British-based Whistler and Spain's Francisco de Goya. The museum’s porcelain and glass collection features art glass from the early 20th century, Chinese porcelain and Worcester porcelain from England.

In addition to exhibiting and preserving fine art, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts offers art education for children and adults. A children’s art collection; hands-on, interactive children's exhibits; monthly activities; and special family days teach children about the history, creation and importance of art in society. Adult programs include demonstrations, lectures, tours and more.

Founded in 1930, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts has been open longer than any other fine arts museum in Alabama. It was founded as the Alabama Society of Fine Arts by area artists and art patrons. Housed in various locations throughout its history, in 1988, the museum opened in the Wynton M. Blount Cultural Park. Originally funded by private parties and memberships, the museum’s operating costs are now paid by the city of Montgomery and Montgomery County. The museum offers free admission to the public.

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