New Orleans Museum of Art
Exterior of the New Orleans Museum of Art
Visitor enjoying the New Orleans Museum of Art
Backstory and Context
The New Orleans Museum of Art was initially funded through a grant by local philanthropist and art collector Isaac Delgado. On the winter of 1911, the Isaac Delgado Museum of Art opened its doors. Issac Delgado did not attend the opening due to medical issues and died soon after on January 4, 1912. The building itself was partly designed by the former chief engineer of New Orleans Benjamin Morgan Harrod.
In 1970-71, the Wisner Education Wing, a three level addition to NOMA’s left side, was funded by the Edward Wisner Foundation. In 1993, the museum underwent a large extension and renovation project that—combined with increased acquisitions—moved the museum to a place of prominence within the nation’s art museums.
Today, the museum hosts an impressive permanent collection of almost 40,000 objects. The collection, noted for its extraordinary strengths in French and American art, photography, glass, and African and Japanese works, continues to expand and grow.
The five-acre Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at NOMA contains over 60 sculptures situated on a landscaped site with meandering footpaths, reflecting lagoons, Spanish moss-laden 200-year-old live oaks, mature pines, magnolias, camellias, and pedestrian bridges.
The museum also includes a gift shop, a small theater for film screenings, and a cafe.
Although City Park suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Katrina, the museum is elevated and located on relatively high ground. As such, flooding was restricted to the basement, and most of the museum's permanent collection was not affected by the storm.