The Guild Hall Museum features world-class art exhibitions of internationally renowned visual artists and emerging regional artists. The Museum also encourages local talent with community art exhibitions. One of the directives of the Museum is to collect, preserve and present the works of accomplished East End artists. Guild Hall Museum has a significant permanent collection and archive of approximately 2,100 works of art.
In 1931, when Mrs. Lorenzo E. Woodhouse dedicated Guild Hall as a cultural center for the community, The New York Times noted that Howard Russell Butler’s portrait of Thomas Moran, on exhibit in the galleries, was not a loan but an acquisition. “It marks the beginning of a permanent art collection which it proposed to build up in Guild Hall,” the newspaper explained.
From the beginning over 80 years ago, the holdings have grown significantly in size and scope. In the early 1960’s, the collection began to focus on the artists who have lived and worked in the region, including some of the country’s most celebrated painters, sculptors, photographers and graphic artists. In 1973, the museum received the distinction of being accredited by the American Association of Museums, and it was reaccredited in 2010.
Today, the holdings of the 19th, 20th and 21st century art include paintings, sculpture, prints, watercolors, photographs and drawings by internationally distinguished artists such as Pollock, Krasner, deKooning, and Lichtenstein. The museum continues to acquire works by donation and acquisition. The year-round schedule of changing exhibitions includes both one-person and group shows, the annual Members Exhibition and the Student Arts Festival.