Academy Art Museum
Backstory and Context
The Academy Art Museum was established in 1958 and was originally known as The Academy of the Arts. The institution was founded by six members of the community who wanted a place that was devoted to the appreciation of the arts. In 1960, the Museum transferred from it's original home in a local church to the location where it still resides today. The building at 106 South Street has been a part of the community of Easton for over 200 years.
One of Easton's historic landmarks, the building has housed many educational institutions since the 1820s. Initially, the building was home to Easton's first charter school, and remained that was for over 30 years. Following its expansion in 1853, the building transitioned into the High School of Talbot County, and then later the Male School of Easton and Female School of Easton. The buildings longest and final run as a school of Easton began in the 1880s, when it housed the Easton Primary and Grammar School. In 1933, the building was converted into a funeral home, and later an antique store until the mid twentieth century.
Renovations and expansion of the Museum were a result of its growing popularity. In the 1980s, the Museum purchased and began construction on the Thomas-Hardcastle house that neighbored the building. The house was connected to the Museum though a glass atrium that served as a space for offices and classrooms. Another addition was made in 2005, creating the Performing Arts Auditorium and a new dance studio. Throughout the years, further improvements have been made, including renovations of the Thomas Hardcastle house to make room for new galleries and a library.
Today, the Academy Art Museum mission reads:
“The mission of the Academy Art Museum is to provide the knowledge, practice, and appreciation of the arts and to enhance cultural life on the Eastern Shore by making available to everyone the Museum’s expanding collection, exhibitions, and broad spectrum of arts programs.”1
Their commitment over the course of the Museum’s history to serve the community as a cultural center continues today. The Museum’s collections include paintings, drawings, photographs, prints, and more by prominent American and European artists. The institution is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, and they maintain close professional relationships with other museums along the east coast, as well as abroad. A number of classes are offered to the public, including, drawing, painting, photography, ceramics, and more. The Academy Art Museum also offers fantastic programs that allow the community to travel to exhibitions, watch lectures by scholars and experts, support the Museum and it’s mission, and much more.