Delawareans helped shape what the reinstalled galleries will look like when they reopen in June, July, and August. 

Wilmington, DE – After asking over 100 Delawareans what they think about their museum, the Delaware Art Museum is reimagining its eight main floor art galleries. The existing galleries of American art and illustration and the Bancroft Collection of Pre-Raphaelite Art will close this spring. When they reopen in summer 2021, the art will tell new stories shaped by community members’ feedback.

“There are new works to show and new stories to tell,” says Chief Curator Heather Campbell Coyle. “Entire collections are being relocated to improve visitor experience, and artworks have been conserved for future generations.”

This will be the first comprehensive Museum rehanging since 2005. Since then, thanks to new research and audience input, the collections have grown to include significant pieces by women and Black artists that tell a more inclusive story of the visual arts. Newly acquired works include a bust of Frederick Douglass by Isaac Scott Hathaway, paintings by 19th century African American artists Robert Duncanson and Edward Mitchell Bannister, and Botticelli’s Studio, a painting by Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale on long-term loan to the Museum. The reinstallation will also bring focus to the role of local artists and collectors in the history of art.

The series of gallery reopenings kicked off this past fall, when art by John Sloan was rehung on the main floor of the Museum. That gallery now tells the story of Sloan’s life as a working artist and displays the work of the rebellious painter friends known as The Eight. Visitors are also engaged with considering the role of artists as activists in society.
Throughout the planning process, staff reached out to community members for help designing a better Delaware Art Museum. “Thank you to all the visitors who participated in focus groups and gave us feedback,” says Amelia Wiggins, Assistant Director of Learning and Engagement. “You helped us create bridges between the collections and the everyday lives of Delawareans. We look forward to seeing what fresh connections visitors make with art as galleries reopen later this year.”

The Museum will remain open during these changes, with galleries closing and reopening on a rolling basis from March into September. Please check delart.org for details and updates.

Full Schedule of Closures and Reopening’s:
– On view now: New Gallery of John Sloan and the Eight 
– March 22 – Sept. 8: Howard Pyle and American Illustration Closed 
– March 22 – May 23: American Art 1757–1900 Limited selection on view
– May 26 – June 16: American Art 1757–1900 Closed
– June 21 – July 21: British Pre-Raphaelites Closed 
– Saturday, June 19: Picturing America (American Art through 1900) Opens 
– Saturday, July 31: Radical Beauty (British Pre-Raphaelites) Opens 
– Saturday, September 11: Howard Pyle and American Illustration Opens; main floor galleries are fully reopened. 

Press Contact: Amelia Wiggins, Assistant Director of Learning & Engagement, awiggins@delart.org

Sponsors: The Museum’s reinstallation is made possible by the generosity of Sewell C. Biggs and foundations including the Choptank Foundation, the Starrett Foundation, the Richard C. Von Hess Foundation, and the Sansom Foundation. This organization is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on www.DelawareScene.com.

About the Delaware Art Museum

For over 100 years, the Museum has served as a primary arts and cultural institution in Delaware. It is alive with experiences, discoveries, and activities to connect people with art and with each other. Originally created in 1912 to honor the renowned illustrator and Wilmington-native, Howard Pyle, the Museum’s collection has grown to over 12,000 works of art in our building and sculpture garden. Also recognized for British Pre-Raphaelite art, the Museum is home to the largest and most important Pre-Raphaelite collection outside of the United Kingdom and a growing collection of significant contemporary art. Embracing all disciplines, the Museum’s Performance Series ranges from concerts by Pyxis Piano Quartet, resident ensemble of over ten years, to cutting-edge, multi-disciplinary artists committed to social justice and pushing the boundaries of artistic practice. 

Under the leadership of our Board of Trustees, the Delaware Art Museum is implementing a comprehensive approach to community and civic engagement. This exciting new strategic direction requires that we increase our value and relevance to all audiences. Visit delart.org to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media. 

For more information visit: www.delart.org

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