Did you know that the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut is the oldest public art museum in the United States? Now you do. The 172-year-old institution, now in the final stages of a five-year, $33 million renovation, announced today that it has received a combined $750,000 from the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) and the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving (HFPG) to fund the comprehensive reinstallation of its collections and to continue related programming aimed at community engagement.
The NEH awarded the Wadsworth Atheneum $400,000 for “the creation of an interdisciplinary gallery with interactive technology” to introduce visitors to the Cabinet of Art and Curiosities: an exhibition of remarkable 17th-century objects, many of them collected by J. Pierpont “Remarkable Objects” Morgan, combined with natural history specimens and other rarities. The space will be part of the reinstallation of European artworks in the restored Morgan Memorial building, slated to open in September 2015. The HFPG grant of $325,000 will fund community engagement initiatives over the next three years through the museum’s “Beyond the Walls/Behind the Scenes” program.