United States

600 Main Street
Phone: (860) 278-2670
Fax: (860) 527-0803
Website: http://www.wadsworthathen

Wadsworth Atheneum Museum Of Art

Since 1842, America's oldest public art museum.
Hartford art patron Daniel Wadsworth (1771-1848) founded the Wadsworth Atheneum to share the wonders of art with the public. In the mid-nineteenth century, average citizens had little if no exposure to fine art, antiquities, or beautiful objects. Only the very wealthy purchased paintings or decorative arts, and then only for their own enjoyment. Thus, Wadsworth's generous gesture was an exciting turn of events that raised the cultural fortunes of an entire community.

Wadsworth almost immediately expanded his plan for a fine arts gallery to include a Connecticut Historical Society and the Young Men's Institute, precursor of the Hartford Public Library. The resulting cultural center was dedicated to the preservation and presentation of history, literature, and art, and was named "Atheneum" in honor of Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom.

The Atheneum first featured works collected by Wadsworth and later bolstered its holdings with large bequests from other Hartford notables such as Elizabeth Hart Jarvis Colt (the wife of Samuel Colt), and J. Pierpont Morgan.

The Wadsworth has a rich tradition of firsts, leading the way in art collecting and embracing new art movements. It was the first American museum to acquire works by Caravaggio, Frederic Church, Salvador DalĂ­, Joan MirĂł, Piet Mondrian, Balthus, Joseph Cornell, and many others. Today our Hudson River School landscapes, Old Master paintings, modernist masterpieces, Meissen and Sevres porcelains, early American furniture and decorative arts, and MATRIX contemporary art shows are world-renowned.

Beginning ... [ Read all ]

Permanent Collection

The Wadsworth Museum of Art has broad and rich permanent collection.

The European Art collection is a rich and diverse collection featuring approximately 900 paintings, 500 sculptures, 800 drawings, and 3,000 British and Continental prints. Paintings on display represent periods ranging from late medieval through the mid-twentieth century. Especially impressive are Baroque paintings, including masterworks by Caravaggio, Strozzi, Ribera, Zurbarán, Hals, van Dyck, and Claude Lorrain.

The American Decorative Arts collection uniquely embodies the history of material culture in New England and America. From elaborately carved and painted seventeenth century chests to the modern masterpieces of Marcel Breuer and Frank Lloyd Wright, this collection is filled with works ranging from the utilitarian to the luxurious. Connecticut craftsmen are celebrated through the fine examples of Samuel Loomis (1748-1814), maker of Colchester/Norwich style furniture, and Eliphalet Chapin (1741-1807), Connecticut's most renowned colonial cabinetmaker. Unique forms come to life in the modern meets natural ethos designs of George Nakashima (1905-1990).

The American Painting & Sculpture collection is one of the most distinguished of its kind in quality, range, and historical importance. More than 600 paintings, 200 sculptures, and 1,200 drawings and watercolors by approximately 400 artists constitute a nearly encyclopedic survey of fine art in the United States.

Contemporary art reflecting quality and diversity seldom seen in traditional art museums. The Contemporary Art Collection features works dating from 1945 to the present, numbers more than 3,000 objects, and emphasize...+ [ Read all ]


Crewel World
Sep 23, 06 thru Mar 25, 07

Soul Food! African American Cookery and Creativity
Nov 15, 06 thru Apr 22, 07

Picasso to Pop: Aspects of Modern Art
Dec 23, 06 thru Nov 30, 07

Faith & Fortune: Five Centuries of European Masterworks
Mar 03, 07 thru Dec 09, 07

Previous Exhibitions

For information about previous exhibitions please see, http://www.wadsworthatheneum.org/view/exhibition-past.php

Forthcoming exhibitions

Connecticut Contemporary
Apr 19, 07 thru Aug 12, 07

For the Love of the Game: Race and Sport in African American Art
Jun 01, 07 thru Nov 30, 07


ADMISSION for Individuals

SENIORS (age 62+) $8
STUDENTS (age 13–college with ID) $5
CHILDREN (age 12 and under, accompanied by an adult.) FREE
FIRST THURSDAYS (from 5:00–8:00 p.m.) $5

Opening hours


SUNDAY 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
WEDNESDAY 11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
THURSDAY* 11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
FRIDAY 11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
SATURDAY 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
*FIRST THURSDAYS 11:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.

Getting there

The Wadsworth Atheneum is located at 600 Main Street in the heart of Hartford, just minutes from major highways and public transportation.

Parking is available in the Wadsworth Atheneum Visitor Lot on Prospect Street


The Museum Cafe at the Wadsworth Atheneum features a creative, and contemporary lunch menu featuring hot and cold entrées, soups, sandwiches, composed salads, and desserts.

Museum internal and external photos (2)

Click on the images to enlarge


Q. What is the museum's mission?
A. As one of Connecticut's principal cultural and civic institutions, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is dedicated to outstanding collections, exhibitions, and educational programs, and to the highest professional standards. The museum seeks to engage diverse audiences with stimulating cultural experiences, and commits its resources to creating a forum for idea exchange and a gathering place for the whole community. Inspired by a distinguished tradition of innovation, the Wadsworth Atheneum will transform itself over the next five years with the renovation and expansion of its facilities, the reinstallation of its great collections, and introduction of creative new programs.

Q. Who is the Museum Director?
A. Willard Holmes was appointed the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum's ninth Director in March 2003. Prior to this appointment, Holmes served for nearly a decade as deputy director and chief operating officer at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Before his tenure at the Whitney, Holmes was chief curator and then director of the Vancouver Art Gallery, the fourth-largest art museum in Canada. He was head of exhibitions and a curator at the national Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. He is a specialist in twentieth century art, and has curated exhibitions around the world.

Q. Who was Daniel Wadsworth?
A. Hartford resident Daniel Wadsworth (1771–1848) was a traveler, amateur artist and architect, arts patron, and founder of the Wadsworth Atheneum. He descended from original settlers of the Connecticut colony. His father, Jeremiah, earned a fortune in trade, manufacturing, banking and insurance, and introduced a young Dan...+ [ Read all ]


For Group Prices, call Lee Oliver (860) 838-4046