Dubuque Museum of Art
Backstory and Context
The Dubuque Museum of Art was originally known as the Dubuque Art Association. The association began as a group of community leaders who had a strong interest in art and culture. Their goal was to provide this to their surrounding community. The first meeting of the Dubuque Art Association took place on February 24th, 1874, making it one of the oldest organizations of its kind in Iowa.
Soon after its establishment, membership of the association was opened to the general public. Members paid a subscriber's fee to the association. The funds made from subscription fees were then used by the association to purchase and display new art pieces for all to enjoy. These exhibitions helped the association gain more interest, which in turn allowed them to fund more art purchases and expand the scope of the organization.
The Dubuque Art Association has evolved over the course of its history. As membership and acquisition of art work grew, the group changed permanent locations several times. Originally, they would meet in private homes, until the organization grew so large that this was no longer sufficient. Starting in 1904, the association had to find a more satisfactory home. The association cycled through a few different notable Dubuque locations, such as the Carnegie-Stout Public Library and the Old County Jail. It wasn't until 1999 that a permanent home was found at 701 Locust Street.
In 1996, the Association was renamed to its modern name, the Dubuque Museum of Art. The collections that have been acquired throughout the years now number around 2,200 distinct art pieces. One of the museum's claims to fame is its substantial collection of art by Grant Wood, one of the largest such collections in the world. Additionally, many works by Arthur Geisert can be found displayed in the museum. While the museum boasts an impressive collection of art, its various programs and outreaches are also commendable. The museum offers programs that include art classes for both children and adults as well as educational lectures. Furthermore, they offer many opportunities to view temporary and permanent exhibitions that showcase the collections of the Dubuque Museum of Art.