Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
The oldest fine arts museum in Alabama, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts was founded in 1930 by a group of local artists and patrons under the name of the “Alabama Society of Fine Arts.” Initially an institution devoted to the arts and local history, its’ inaugural exhibition was once described as a display of, ‘furniture, silver, china, pictures, historical relics and one old shoe’ all borrowed from or donated by the community. From such modest beginnings the institution flourished in the intervening forty years and, in 1972, the Museum’s board of trustees refined the Museum’s mission in order to focus on a rapidly expanding collection of American art. Together with its’ outstanding collection of historical American paintings, sculpture, and works on paper, the Museum now also boasts impressive collections of European Old Master prints, Southern regional art, Self-Taught and Visionary art, Studio Art Glass, and decorative arts.
The Museum’s home for the first 29 years was a former school in downtown Montgomery. Between 1959 and 1988, the Museum shared a facility with the public library. Beginning in the early 1980s,The City of Montgomery and the Museum’s board of trustees joined forces to secure funding for a new Museum building, to be constructed in the Wynton M. Blount Cultural Park adjacent to the Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s Carolyn Blount Theatre. The Museum opened in1988 and added to its’ collection the gift of forty-one important American historical paintings from Mr. and Mrs. Winton M. Blount. Since that time the Museum has proven a source of enduring civic pride, and has undergone two major expansions, adding the Young Gallery in 1992, and the Lowder Education Wing in 2006.
An exciting array of MMFA-organized and traveling exhibitions, special events, and programs complements the Museum’s outstanding permanent collection. Visitors to the Museum can explore ARTWORKS, a one-of-a-kind hands-on gallery for children, dine at Café M, and visit The Museum Store, a source for distinctive, artist-made works of art and craft. The Museum’s education department offers stimulating educational programming, examining the diverse facets of the world of fine art for audiences beginning with young children and extending to those with an interest in life-long learning. The Museum’s audience is also expanding via Internet-based technologies, with a website featuring a searchable collections database (www.mmfa.org) and social networking via Facebook and Twitter.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Ralph Daily https://flic.kr/p/bdpTXc CC BY-ND 2.0
One Museum Drive