Palmer Museum of Art Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Story posted February 2, 2022 in CommRadio, News by Emma Aken

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State celebrates its 50th anniversary with the launch of special exhibitions, beginning in January and continuing throughout 2022.

The main exhibition, “An American Place: Selections from the James and Barbara Palmer Collection,” showcases American art over the past century with 59 paintings, works on paper and sculptures.

The art spans from the post-Civil War decades through the Civil Rights era and includes mid-20th century voices that were once marginalized.

The collection was assembled over more than 30 years by the late Barbara and James Palmer. The works in the exhibition represent the diversity of the history of American art and include Ashcan portraits, scenes of everyday life, modernist explorations and a representation of many different artists.

Madelyn Skaw said she is excited to check out the exhibit because she believes it will be very educational.

“Especially due to what we’re going through today in the world, I feel like it would be beneficial for everybody to check it out and learn something and get an appreciation for the art,” Skaw (sophomore-broadcast journalism) said.

Skaw said she thinks it is unique the way the museum is cultivating American history through art and is looking forward to seeing the Civil Rights pieces.

Since its opening in October of 1972, the Palmer Museum of Art is the most significant academic art museum in the state of Pennsylvania, as it is an essential cultural resource for Penn State’s students, faculty and visitors. It’s also the largest art museum collection between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

Francesca Grossman said the 50th anniversary exhibit seems intriguing.

“I think the fact that we have a museum that’s been open for 50 years on campus is really cool,” Grossman (sophomore-biobehavioral health) said.

Grossman said her dad attended Penn State as well and that he encouraged her to go to the museum at some point before she graduates. She believes now, with the new exhibit, would be the best time to go.

In addition to the “An American Place” exhibition, the museum will be celebrating its anniversary with music, performances and art activities throughout the next few months.

The Museum is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays, and admission is free.

The Palmer Museum of Art is also opening a new museum located in The Arboretum at Penn State with twice the exhibition space, flexible event spaces and more.

Emma Aken is a second-year majoring in journalism. To contact her, email