The mission of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art is to enrich a growing public through innovative and collaborative approaches to the collection, preservation and presentation of American art.
To be a preeminent museum of American art.
The Westmoreland Museum of American Art was established in 1949 at the bequest of Mary Marchand Woods, a long time resident of Greensburg interested in the arts. This visionary founder bequeathed her entire estate in order for the Museum facility to be built in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, 35 miles east of Pittsburgh. In 1959, the Museum opened its doors to the public, and its focus became the collection and exhibition of American and southwestern Pennsylvania art.
Over the past fifty years, the Museum has assembled a collection of works by significant American artists, concentrating on the mid-18th through the mid-20th centuries, including works by Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sargent, and Winslow Homer among other preeminent American artists. The Museum has also become known as the repository for works by southwestern Pennsylvania artists, including artists of the Scalp Level School, holding many exhibitions and publishing several books on the subject since 1981. This interest caught the attention of noted art historian William Gerdts who observed in his encyclopedic 1998 book, Art Across America, that the Museum "pioneered regional investigations."
In 1993, after making great strides in developing a significant collection, the Museum adopted a long-range plan to address the visitors' experience and asserted itself as a vital, forward-thinking institution, engaged with its community. This led to a capital campaign, launched in 1997, which provided for a much-needed Museum renovation. The Museum reopened in 1999 with six improved galleries, improved educational facilities and visitors' amenities, and a larger endowment for the future.
The Museum has organized many important exhibitions over the years, including All That is Glorious Around Us: Paintings from the Hudson River School in 1997, and American Scenery: Different Views in Hudson River School Painting in 2006, both of which allowed the public to see works from one of the most comprehensive private collections of this genre; and both shows traveled extensively throughout the United States: Spirit of a Community: The Photographs of Charles "Teenie" Harris in 2001, which brought the street photography of this important African American photographer to the public as fine art prints for the first time and gained national media attention; and in 2007, Made in Pennsylvania: A Folk Art Tradition, an exhibition that brought together for the first time almost 400 significant examples of folk art, drew 22% of its attendance from outside the state and had a $700,000 economic impact on the southwestern Pennsylvania region. In addition, Born of Fire: The Valley of Work, an exhibition focusing on the art, music and history of Pittsburgh's Big Steel Era, debuted at The Westmoreland in June 2006 before making its European debut in Oberhausen, Germany in February 2007. Born of Fire is scheduled to tour Europe through 2010.
The Westmoreland is known for its many award-winning, curriculum-based educational programs, which have reached thousands of students in the region and have received both state and federal funding. The innovative programs utilize the Museum's collection to teach students in grades Kindergarten through high school about art and history.
The Museum is a recognized leader in the social enterprise movement in southwestern Pennsylvania. Through our retail and product development initiatives and traveling exhibitions, annual unrestricted earned income has increased six fold, thereby significantly increasing our self-sustainability.
In September 2007, the Trustees approved a new strategic plan focusing on three main objectives: to increase CAPACITY to sustain and grow the Museum; to be a focused and exemplary COLLECTION of American art concentrating between the years of 1750-1950; and to be a DESTINATION for the community, region, tourists, schools and families.
The Westmoreland's Fiftieth Anniversary in 2009 was an opportunity for the entire community to both celebrate the Museum's accomplishments and to help plan for its future. Intensive community planning sessions have set the stage for the Museum's next fifty years, including an expansion of the building to accommodate more galleries, educational facilities and public gathering places as well as securing the resources needed to continue to serve the community well into the future.