Erie Art Museum

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Erie Art Museum
Erie Art Museum.jpg
Established 1980, originally the Art Club of Erie est. 1898

411 State Street

Erie, Pennsylvania, USA
Type Art Museum
Director Susan Black-Keim
Curator Susan Barnett

Erie Art Museum is an art museum in Erie, Pennsylvania, with a collection of over 8,000 objects, including American ceramics, Tibetan paintings, Indian bronzes, contemporary baskets, and many other mediums. The museum hosts 18 to 20 visiting exhibitions annually and shares parts of its collection with national and international partners through traveling exhibits. In October 2011, the Erie Art Museum was awarded the National Medal for Museum and Library Service.[1]

The museum publishes a monthly eNewsletter on its main website and has hosted an annual blues and jazz music festival at Frontier Park since 1993.[2]

Museum complex[edit]

The museum entrance is situated on East 5th Street between State and French Streets. The 2010 wing connects five historic buildings into a single complex:

  1. The Old Custom House, a Greek Revival building constructed in 1837-39 of Vermont marble[3][4]
  2. The Cashiers House, a Greek Revival townhouse also completed in 1839[5]
  3. The Bonnell Block, a Greek Revival commercial building built in 1840 that houses the Erie County Historical Society
  4. The Erie Art Museum's Holstein Gallery and Frame Shop, also housed in the Bonnell Block building
  5. The Old Pumper House, the oldest surviving fire house in the city, originally built as a marble works in 1860


The Art Club of Erie was established in 1898 and met in the then-new Erie Library on Perry Square in downtown Erie. The Art Club moved to the Watson-Curtze Mansion in the 1940s. In 1956, the club raised money and found a home of its own in the Wood-Morrison House, adjacent to the Curtze Mansion. The new place was soon known as the Erie Art Center and had a professional director by 1968. The center became the Erie Art Museum in 1980 when it moved to the Old Custom House on State Street. The Ashby Printing Company building was purchased the same year and became the museum's annex.[6]

In 1992, the Erie Art Museum became a part of the Discovery Square corporation, which invested $5 million in the development of a city block of museums, including the creation of the expERIEence Children's Museum in 1995 and the renovation and expansion of the Erie Art Museum and the Erie County History Center.[6] Current plans are for the History Center to grow from 2,000 sq ft (200 m2) to 14,000 sq ft (1,300 m2), and the Art Museum to grow from 4,000 sq ft (400 m2) to 16,000 sq ft (1,500 m2).[7] Although this plan was later abandoned, the Erie Art Museum completed an extensive renovation and expansion project, opening in October 2010.[8] The project created the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building in Erie, Pennsylvania.[9]

Folk Art[edit]

The Erie Art Museum was designated a Regional Folk Art Support Center by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts in 2003.[10] As a part of this designation the museum works to recognize and support local folk artists and raises awareness for the traditional arts in northwestern Pennsylvania. [11] The museum also hosts the Old Songs New Opportunities project, a program run in conjunction with local agencies and daycare centers that provides job training and internships for women in the city's refugee communities and prepares them for childcare jobs in the United States. [12] With assistance from the Better Kid Care Penn State Co-op Extension Office the women receive training in child development theory, are instructed on the responsibilities of childcare workers,and learn how the arts can augment physical and mental development.[13] They also exchange children's songs from their native countries, create singable English versions of them, and incorporate these songs into their childcare jobs. The program supports women from various countries and cultures including Bhutan, Sudan, Somalia, Russia, and Iraq and has successfully trained and placed many women into childcare positions. [14]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°07′52″N 80°05′10″W / 42.1312°N 80.0860°W / 42.1312; -80.0860