It might seem that an institution like a museum is carved in stone, but since its founding in 1912, the Delaware Art Museum has actually changed a great deal. Our Centennial Timeline, installed in the Museum’s Orientation Hallway, is a look at how things were and how they have changed, both here at the Museum and in the community that we serve. To put the Museum’s historical achievements in context, the Timeline mirrors notable Museum milestones with important local and world events.

A century ago, the Museum started life with an original purchase of approximately 100 Howard Pyle paintings. That collection has grown to include 12,000 works of art by great American masters such as Winslow Homer, artists of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and well-known American illustrators. The Museum’s name and physical space have also changed considerably. Originally called the Wilmington Society of the Fine Arts, and then the Delaware Art Center, the Museum officially became the Delaware Art Museum in the early 1970s. And although we spent decades traveling around—with no permanent gallery space—the Museum now encompasses 80,000 square feet of exhibition and administrative space, four studio art classrooms, and a sprawling 9-acre sculpture park—the first of its kind in the region. 

The Centennial Timeline traces the Delaware Art Museum’s evolution through a century of growth and change. This interactive installation encourages visitors to use sticky notes that share their own special memories of the Museum, and we’re proud to have it on view through March 2013. 


The Delaware Art Museum has undergone many alterations in its physical appearance, from the original structure in 1938 to an education wing in 1956 and then expanded gallery space and an auditorium in 1987. In 2003, the Museum again undertook a construction project.

The Museum’s latest expansion and renovation was designed by Ann M. Beha, FAIA, President of the Boston-based firm Ann Beha Architects. In addition, the builder was Skanska USA Building Inc., and the engineer was Ove Arup & Partners Massachusetts Inc.

On June 26, 2005, the Museum reopened with extensive renovations to the original 1938 building and three new Museum wings, offering new facilities for the permanent collection and special exhibitions, arts education programs, the Thronson Café, the Museum Store, offices, meeting areas, and collections care facilities. Total facilities now include over 80,000 square feet of space.

Contributed by Anonymous
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