The Whistler House Museum of Art in Lowell, MA is the birthplace of renowned American artist James McNeil Whistler and works to preserve the works and history of the houses original residents who were innovators of the American Industrial Revolution.

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© Whistler House Museum of Art

The history of the Whistler house and those who has resided there may be its greatest legacy. Built in 1823, the home incorporates Federal and Greek Revival style architecture with an L shaped floor plan, 14 rooms and 10 fireplaces.

The first person to reside in the home was Paul Moody from 1823-1831. Moody invented the power loom which revolutionized the textile manufacturing industry. He was a master mechanic and also invented a sophisticated leather belt and pulley system which became the standard in mills throughout the country.

Major George Washington Whistler, one of the most famous engineers in the 1800’s, a graduate of U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and known for his work on the canals and aqueducts, as well as his work on locomotives in Lowell, was the next resident in The Whistler House. He and his wife Anna, with their son, James. Lived in the home from 1834-1837. James Abbott McNeil Whistler also attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point before leaving the army to devote himself to art. He has since become known as one of the great American modernist painters and the finest etcher since Rembrandt.

Other notable figures that have lived in the Whistler House include George Brownell who was the author of Journal on a Voyage to England which he wrote while living in the home in 1839. James Bicheno Francis was another Engineer who lived in the home who was involved in the design of locomotives. He was hailed as the father of modern hydraulic engineering and became chief engineer of the company that operated Lowell’s waterpower system.

The Lowell Art Association was established in 1908 with The Whistler House Museum of Art as its official home. The Lowell Art Association owns The Whistler House and operates it as a museum and historic site, maintaining a permanent collection and fine arts exhibitions in Parker Gallery which is adjacent to the home.

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2.Collections & Exhibitions

Collections & Exhibitions
© Whistler House Museum of Art

Permanent Collection

The permanent collection at The Whistler House Museum of Art include the works that are kept in the Whistler House. These collections are divided into four areas of the home—Second Floor, Third Floor, Main Gallery, and The Francis Room. The focus on these works is late 19th century to early 20th century American Representational art from New England. The third floor of the Whistler House is also where the artist in Residency program studio lofts are located. Some represented artists include:

· James Abbot McNeil Whistler

· Frank Weston Benson

· Thomas B. Lawson

· William Morris Hunt

· Aldro Thompson Hibbard

· Arshile Gorky

· John Singer Sargent

· Cullen Yates

· David D. Neal

Special Exhibits

The Whistler House Museum of Art hosts special exhibits in the Parker Gallery which is adjacent from the Whistler House. These exhibits are on a rotating basis and can change seasonally or based on themes. An artist reception is held before each exhibition, typically on a Saturday afternoon following the opening of the exhibit.

Each Fall there is a Juried Members Exhibition. Members of the Lowell Art Association will present a range of works in many subjects and mediums that will be judged. There are calls for entries for local exhibitions that can be found on the Whistler House website.

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3.Plan your Visit

Plan your Visit
© Whistler House Museum of Art

Educational Opportunities

The Whistler House offers guided museum tours when docents are available at 12pm and 2pm daily.

The Whistler House Museum of Art offers Youth Summer Art Programs annually for grades 5 through 9 or ages 10-14. Each camp is a week-long and focuses on a different art medium through hands-on creation. Mediums include drawing, painting, sculpture, and printmaking. The camps include museum tours and daily activities with local professional artists. Classes are three hours per day and scholarships are available.

The Whistler House also offers a unique opportunity for local artists to be able to apply for the Artist in Residency program where artists are given the opportunity, if selected, to work in a loft space in the third floor of the Whistler House.


Both the Whistler House and Parker Gallery can be rented for private functions such as weddings, receptions, corporate functions, and fundraising events. There are inside and outside courtyard spaces, as well as Whistler Park that are available to be rented through the WHMA office. Pricing and detailed information is available on the Whistler House website.

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243 Worthen Street, Lowell, Massachusettes 01852, website, Phone: 978-452-7641

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Things to Do in Lowell, MA: Whistler House Museum of Art