The Huntington Museum of Art has been a point of civic pride for residents of Huntington over the past six decades. It is widely recognized as the finest art museum in West Virginia and is the largest art museum within the central Appalachian region between Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Richmond. The museum is located among the spectacular hills above Ritter Park, on a beautiful 52-acre site where art and nature blend in harmony. Visitors are constantly impressed that such a small city could be home to such an exceptional collection and extraordinary facility that includes walking trails, outdoor sculpture gardens, a lecture hall, art library, and conservatory.
Originally the Huntington Galleries, the museum opened in 1952 as a location to showcase art for the Huntington community. As the museum's collection grew and became a popular attraction in the Tri-State area, the name was changed to the Huntington Museum of Art of 1987. The Museum offers educational programs for all ages and many different types of tours. They also sponsor nature tours and camps and classes for children. The museum's James D. Francis Art Research Library is utilized by Marshall University for research projects, allowing students to gain experience in an archival setting outside of the university. HMOA also offers multiple classes in the arts for all ages.
Visitors to the museum can enjoy regional treasures such as hand-blown glass from from the Ohio Valley and Appalachian folk art. The museum also holds a large collection of American art, furniture, and firearms. The European collection includes paintings, sculpture, and other works dating from the 16th century. The French Barbizon collection includes some of the Museum’s greatest treasures, including landscapes by Theodore Rousseau and drawings by Manet and Picasso. The British portrait collection includes striking aristocratic portraits, furniture, silver, and one of the earliest six octave piano ever made. The works in the Museum’s Asian collection include portraits, porcelain, jade, woodcuts, and carved ivory that date from 206 BC to early 20th century. The Touma Near Eastern Collection includes 400 works of art from North Africa and to Southern Europe, providing a glimpse of encompassing Pre-Roman, Roman, Greek, Islamic, Christian, and Jewish civilizations.