Brandywine River Art Museum and Conservancy
Backstory and Context
The Conservancy is a leading local and national advocate for
responsible land use, open space preservation and water protection.
The Conservancy focuses on integrating conservation with economic
development through its Land Stewardship and Municipal Assistance
programs. The Conservancy works with individuals; state, county and
municipal governments; and private organizations to permanently protect
and conserve natural, cultural and scenic resources.
Brandywine River Museum In 1971, the Conservancy opened the Brandywine River Museum of Art in the renovated Hoffman’s Mill, a former gristmill built in 1864 that was part of the Conservancy’s first preservation efforts. The museum has an international reputation for its unparalleled collection and its dedication to American art with primary emphasis on the art of the Brandywine region, American illustration, still life and landscape painting, and the work of the Wyeth family.
Among the hundreds of artists represented are Howard Pyle, many students of Pyle who affected the course of American illustration, N. C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, and Jamie Wyeth. There is work by hundreds of famous illustrators. Landscape, still life, portrait and genre painting includes work by Benjamin West, Gilbert Stuart, Asher Durand, W. T. Richards, William Harnett, John Haberle, J. D. Chalfant, Horace Pippin, and many others, while the major still life collection includes paintings by William Harnett, John Peto, George Cope, John Haberle, Horace Pippin, and many more artists. Nearly 300 special exhibitions have been shown in the museum’s six galleries, along with constant installations of work from the collection. A variety of educational programs is offered throughout the year.
The Brandywine Conservancy has thousands of members throughout the region and the nation, including a Young Friends group that hosts events throughout the year. More than 300 volunteers work as docents in the museum, as gardeners in the native plant gardens that surround the Conservancy’s buildings, and in other capacities throughout the Conservancy. Volunteers organize an annual antiques show and other events to support an acquisition fund that has added more than 200 works of art to the museum’s collection.
In 2008, the Brandywine Conservancy was one of the first conservation organizations awarded accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. The award is an affirmation of careful management and effective environmental programs. In the same year, the Brandywine River Museum received accreditation from the American Association of Museums for the fourth time. The Brandywine Conservancy has always maintained the highest professional standards, a commitment to excellence, public accountability, sound financial management, innovation, and growth of public services.