Michener Museum to Celebrate Silver Anniversary
The Doylestown art museum has a long list of celebrations planned over the next few months.
For contemporary Doylestownians, it may be hard to remember a time when the James A. Michener Art Museum did not exist.
Over the past 25 years, the museum has become a mainstay of the town's appeal to visitors and locals alike.
The museum on Pine Street is celebrating 25 years of "Art at the HeART of Bucks County." And to mark the silver anniversary, the museum has planned gala events to highlight its history, as well as past and future growth.
"This is a significant milestone in the life of this museum and an opportunity to reflect on all that has been accomplished and to envision how the museum will continue to be a vital presence in our community," director & CEO Lisa Tremper Hanover said in a statement.
"We have a fresh face on Pine Street and look forward to engaging with our cultural and business partners in the region to help us celebrate throughout the year."
Museum officials said the year began with new sculpture, lighting and landscaping, supplementing the state-of-the-art Edgar N. Putman Event Pavilion to bring the former stone-prison-turned-art-museum into the 21st century.
A new logo soon will be introduced, and the Nakashima room will be getting a renovation, they said.
"Our 25th anniversary committee, co-chaired by Leslie Skilton and made up of board members, community and staff, has been meeting to plan fun and educational activities throughout the year," said director of adult programming Zoriana Siokalo.
Activities planned so far include:
- Adding 25 significant new works to the permanent collection.
- Inviting the public to be a curator. Using social media, museum visitors will have the opportunity to investigate the collection, or even discover a seldom-seen artist hidden away in the vault. Viewers will propose their favorite works and the top 25 will comprise a dedicated exhibition for the 25th anniversary. Voting begins in summer 2013.
- May 8, 2013, will be James A. Michener Art Museum Day. On that date in 1985, Bucks County honored the Pulitzer Prize-winning author with a dedicated day of celebrations of his books and philanthropy. This year, the museum will be recognized with a day of festivities, including a members appreciation reception, free admission to non-members who bring a canned food item to be donated to a local charity, and docent-led themed tours.
- Renewing focus on James A. Michener, the museum will work with library partners to reintroduce the author of more than 40 novels, including Tales from the South Pacific, to younger readers. The Doylestown native gave both his name and significant financial contributions to the museum.
- A mule is coming. The Michener has acquired "Burro of Doylestown," the tile mule by Linda Williams, through the generosity of Michael Guagliardo of Miracolo Hair Studio in Doylestown. You can see it here in the Patricia D. Pfundt Sculpture Garden in the spring. The Michener was a partner in the 2003 Miles for Mules project, linking the past to the present through art. The mule is a symbol of eastern Pennsylvania's heritage.
- Special recognition will be given to members, Corporate Business Partners, and long-term donors who have been with the museum for all 25 years.
- Save the Date - June 15, 2013 - for the official 25th Anniversary Year Founders Celebration in the Putman Event Pavilion and Patricia Pfundt Sculpture Gardens. Bruce Norman Long and Beth Beans Gilbert will serve as co-chairs, honoring the museum's founders.
- September 21-22, 2013 - Public anniversary celebration, with a Saturday open house, an architectural tour of the Cultural District, a labyrinth walk, and lectures about the museum's history. There will be film screenings and an evening of '80s karaoke and dance party. Sunday events include a contemporary dance performance by MM2, and an opera event.
The museum acknowledges the seed money in support of the 25th anniversary from a generous bequest from Gretchen H. Knoell.
"Gretchen Knoell was an outstanding advocate for the museum, especially in the business community, and a good friend of the Michener since its founding 25 years ago," said Candace Clarke, deputy director and advancement officer.
"We are honored that she included the Michener in her estate plans, and know she would be pleased to be part of the year-long anniversary celebration."
The James A. Michener Art Museum is located at 138 South Pine St., Doylestown, Pa.
Museum hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10 am to 4:30 pm; Saturday 10 am to 5 pm; Sunday noon to 5 pm.
Admission: Members and children under 6, free; adults $15; seniors $13; college student with valid ID $11; ages 6-18 $7.50; under 6 free. For more information, visit www.michenerartmuseum.org or call 215-340-9800.
Annual support for the Michener Art Museum is provided by the Bucks County Commissioners and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.