The Farnsworth Art Museum in Camden, Maine, is a delightful gem for art lovers. The museum has a vast collection of American art, focusing on Maine artists. In this blog, learn more about the history of Farnsworth Art Museum and all it has to offer its visitors.
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Farnsworth Art Museum Then and Now
Lucy Copeland Farnsworth and the History of Farnsworth Art Museum
The Farnsworth Art Museum first opened in August 1948. It was built using Lucy Farnsworth’s inheritance that she left in her will to establish the William A. Farnsworth Library and Art Museum in memory of her father. Eventually, the museum was renamed Farnsworth Art Museum.
Her father, William Farnsworth, opened a general store in Rockland in 1840. His passion for the limestone industry quickly led him to own the store and acquire shares in other aspects of the industry, including real estate, limestone quarries, kilns, and ships. He became the founder and president of the Rockland Water Company, thoroughly establishing his family and legacy in Rockland.
Having outlived her six siblings and due to the family’s rich legacy and status, Lucy was able to leave behind over a million dollars and her estate when she passed in 1935 at the age of 96.
The beautiful building that was once her home and of one of Rockland’s most prominent families became a historic site open to the public in 1938. The Farnsworth Art Museum cost $600,000 to build and has been open to the public since 1948. The museum also includes several other buildings in the downtown Rockland area.
The museum’s collection holds more than 15,000 works of art, including 18th-century to modern-day paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, and furniture. The museum emphasizes artists with deep ties to Maine; however, it also includes artists from around the nation. Five thousand of these works are on their website database, available to view.
Exhibitions at Farnsworth Art Museum
The museum hosts a revolving set of exhibitions featuring local and national artists. Recent displays are from Andrew Wyeth, works from the Alex Katz Foundation, and Louise Nevelson. However, since these will rotate out soon, check their current exhibitions and upcoming exhibitions to see what will be on display when you visit.
Farnsworth Homestead, Olson House, and Library
One of the unique features of the museum is the Farnsworth Homestead. The homestead was the home of the Farnsworth family and is an excellent example of 19th-century architecture in the Greek Revival style. It was registered as a historic site to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
The Farnsworth Art Museum acquired the Olson House through Andrew Wyeth, a renowned artist from Maine. His long-standing relationship with the museum goes back to 1944, when they bought some of his famous artwork. Throughout the years, they held exhibits of his work. In 1991, Apple CEO John Sculley and his wife Lee gave the Olson house to the Farnsworth Art Museum. It was where Andrew Wyeth spent many years, and many of his artworks were inspired, so naturally, the house became part of the museum where many of his paintings and drawings live.
The library Lucy Farnsworth requested to be part of the museum holds around 10,000 volumes, focusing on American art and artists whose work is in the museum’s collection. It is a non-circulating library of books on art history and Maine art history.
The museum also offers a variety of educational programs for visitors of all ages and artistic abilities. There are guided tours of the museum, art classes for children and adults, and lectures and workshops on various topics related to American art. They aim to make art accessible for everyone, no matter their background.
Visit the Farnsworth Art Museum
The museum is at 16 Museum Street, Rockland, ME 04841. You can visit Wednesday through Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm. It is closed on Monday and Tuesday.
Tickets start at $10 for students 17 years old and up. Adult admission is $15, and senior tickets are $13. Members, residents, and children 16 years and younger get in for free.
If you’re planning a visit to the Camden area, Farnsworth Art Museum is an excellent place to spend a day admiring the work of so many amazing local Maine artists. It is the perfect place for history and art lovers to learn more about Maine’s culture and history.
Stay at Camden, Maine Stay Inn
While not a museum, the Camden Maine Stay Inn was built in 1802 and is registered with the National Register of Historic Places. It is the third oldest home in Camden. And it was renovated to give you the most modern and luxurious accommodations on your vacation.
Enjoy luxurious amenities like soft, cozy beds and personal health and safety products. We also have hypoallergenic pillows, private en suite bathrooms, plush bathrobes, and much more in our stylish guest rooms! Enjoy all the comforts of modern living in our historical building and have an exquisite stay in Camden, Maine.
Check out our specials for reduced rates on your visit. Or we have packages to enchant your stay, like our Romantic Getaway or the Happy Birthday package, where you can enjoy a magic touch for a special occasion!
Check availability and make plans today for your best vacation!