The Hunter Museum of American Art is located on the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, Tennessee on a bluff 80 feet over the water with panoramic views of the mountains and featuring high quality fine American art inside from the Colonial period to modern times.
The Hunter Museum of Art is comprised of three distinct buildings with 100 years of history—the mansion, the 1970’s building, and the 21st century waterfront. Each of these buildings on the Bluff displays some of the finest collections of art works in the history of America from Colonial times to present day.
The Mansion first belonged to the Ross Faxon family in 1904 who had the Edwardian style home designed for his single family to live in for nine years. The home passed through many different hands before being sold to Anne Taylor Thomas in 1920. A nephew, George Thomas Hunter would become one of the most respected philanthropists in Chattanooga and upon his death the mansion was donated to the Chattanooga Art Association in 1951 so that they could establish a proper art museum for their collection.
The Chattanooga Art Association named the home George Thomas Hunter Gallery of Art and opened it as Chattanooga’s first art museum on July 12th, 1952. A new building was added in 1975 by architects Derthick, Henley & Wilkerson made from concrete and a dramatic central atrium space. The mansion was renovated the same year and in 1975 the new building and mansion reopened in September under the name Hunter Museum of Art. The ceremony was marked with a gift of 40 American paintings from the Benwood Foundation worth over $1 million dollars.
The 21st Century Waterfront was established in 2002 as part of Chattanooga’s $120 million 21st Century Waterfront Plan. By 2005, The Hunter Museum completed a $22 million expansion and renovation including a waterfront building totally 28,000 feet of new exhibit space, and creation of the outdoor sculpture plaza. The Hunter Museum Gift Shop offers an assortment of gifts and memorabilia for kids and adults and the Hunter has also partnered with 1000 Museums to offer prints of some of the works in the collection.
The Collection at The Hunter Museum of American Art includes Paintings, Works on Paper, Photographs, Sculpture, Mixed Media, New Media, and Decorative Arts from hundreds of American artists from 1700 to present day. The permanent collection of the Hunter Museum holds over 2,000 works that are viewable online at the Hunter Museum website while only 250-300 works are typically on view at one time at the museum.
The Hunter Museum of American Art has special exhibitions that are on display for certain periods of time. Many exhibitions are partnerships with other renowned institutions and all showcase talented past or current American artists from the Colonial period to present day.
Details about current exhibitions is always available on the Hunter website including dates, admission information, and content. Past exhibitions have included Thrill After Thrill: Thirty Year of Wayne White, Animating the Still Life, Masters of The Golden Age: Harvey Dunn and His Students, Once & Again: Still Lifes By Beth Lipman, Monet and American Impressionism, Imagining American Girlhood, and many more.
There is nearly always something going on at The Hunter Museum. The gallery is a cultural hub for the city of Chattanooga and The Hunter Museum offers lectures, workshops, summer camps, yoga, and art classes throughout the month. Details and registration information can be found by visiting the website.
The Hunter Museum is also available to be rented for personal or professional private events. The venue can accommodate groups of nearly any size with several terrace options, the auditorium and the Grand Foyer Lobby or any of the galleries available.
Educators in the Chattanooga area are encouraged to use the Hunter Museum of American Art as an extension of their classroom for grades K-12 for a deeper understanding of American History and intercultural communications. The collection in the museum can link to many topics in English Language Arts, Social Studies, Mathematics, and Science. The staff at the Hunter Museum is happy to help educators with a curriculum to unite the classroom and the museum collection. The Hunter also has special gallery space for students who are inspired by a trip to The Hunter Museum to display their work.
The Hunter Museum also offers special educational nights for teens to connect to the arts in their communities and other teens. Teen Night, Creative Discovery Museum MAPS, TheaterQuest, and partnerships through STEM programs at the local Chattanooga school district make arts education possible through many avenues.
Back to: Chattanooga, TN
10 Bluff View Chattanooga, Tennessee, 37403, website, Phone: 423-267-0968
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