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Reimagined Delaware Art Museum galleries coming this summer

Gallery 7 - Sloan Reinstallation 2020
The Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington is undergoing a huge change as it reimagines its eight main floor galleries.

The Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington is reimagining its eight main floor galleries.



This is the first comprehensive Museum rehanging since 2005 and entire collections are relocating to improve visitor experience. 

The museum’s assistant director of learning and engagement Amelia Wiggins says the reimagining comes after asking Delawareans for help with the planning.

"We have asked hundreds….over a 100 Delawareans to give us their feedback on the Museum, tell us what they’re interested in, tell us the stories they want to hear, tell us what we should be showing," said Wiggins. "And we’ve taken all those conversations and used them to reimagine what the Museum should be for our local community.”

And Wiggins notes there was one main theme in the community feedback.


“I think one of the biggest things that we heard is - where are people who look like me? That came up again and again. You know, our collection was built a long time ago - much of it through amazing gifts from community members. But it isn’t reflective of the diversity of our community. So we’ve worked very hard to build some key acquisitions to better reflect the demographics of Wilmington.”

Those newly acquired works include a bust of Frederick Douglass by Isaac Scott Hathaway, paintings by 19th century African American artists Robert Duncanson and Edward Mitchell Bannister, and Botticelli’s Studio, a painting by Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale on long-term loan to the Museum.

Wiggins adds the Delaware Art Museum has the biggest collection of Pre-Raphaelite Art in the United States and are looking for ways to use it differently.


For example, she points to one painting featuring a Jamaican immigrant and says the museum plans to focus on her story, telling it in a new way. 


The mueseum also plans to focus more on the role of local artists and collectors in the history of art.


Gallery reopenings kicked off last fall, when art by John Sloan moved to the main floor of the Museum. That gallery now tells Sloan’s story and displays works by his activisit painter friends known as The Eight.


For more info on the rehanging and a full schedule of closures and reopenings, click here.

Delaware Public Media' s arts coverage is made possible, in part, by support from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.


Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.