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Palmer Museum of Art Reopens with New Look in the Galleries

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Updated gallery at Palmer Museum of Art

When the Palmer Museum of Art reopened on Tuesday, Sept. 5, visitors were treated to a new look in the galleries, as the permanent collection had been rehung to better highlight the museum’s strengths in American art. The reinstallation of the collection took place while the museum was closed for four months for maintenance work to update the building’s water treatment equipment.

“While visitors will see plenty of old friends on the walls, the revised contexts will result in a wholly new experience,” said Patrick McGrady, Charles V. Hallman Curator and interim director of the museum. “It will almost be like visiting the Palmer Museum of Art for the first time, because we have reimagined the way we present the permanent collection.”

The reinstallation was conceived by the Palmer Museum of Art's incoming director, Erin Coe, who officially begins her duties September 11. “An Americanist herself, Erin has long been aware of the museum's strengths in American art, and she is committed to showcasing those assets by ensuring that our visitors encounter three galleries richly appointed with American paintings as they first enter the museum, and that they continue to experience a broad range of American art as they proceed with their journey throughout the building,” explained McGrady.

The reinstallation is the result of extensive efforts by teams of curators and preparators. Palmer Museum curators Joyce Robinson and Adam Thomas worked with Coe to determine the specific locations for the works of art. Preparators Rich Hall, Craig Witter, and James Kane prepped the spaces by moving walls and patching and repainting all the galleries, and then hung the art and lit the galleries. Bev Sutley, the Palmer’s registrar, ensured the museum’s hundreds of works of art were safely moved to their new spaces within the museum.

“With this newly conceived installation, the Palmer Museum is leading with its strength in American art augmented by significant collections of Modern and Contemporary art, ceramics and studio glass, as well as European Baroque paintings,” said Coe. “I am proud of the experienced and talented staff of the Palmer for organizing and implementing the reinstallation so quickly and efficiently and for our shared commitment to impact.”

The museum also has three new exhibitions on display through mid-December: Big Deal: Sizeable Paintings from the Permanent Collection; New Acquisitions: Minna Citron after Atelier 17; and Asher B. Durand: To Begin Again.

For more information on the museum and a calendar of upcoming events, visit

About the Palmer
The Palmer Museum of Art on the Penn State University Park campus is a free-admission arts resource for the University and surrounding communities in central Pennsylvania. With a collection of 8,300 objects representing a variety of cultures and spanning centuries of art, the Palmer is the largest art museum between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Areas of strength include its collection of American art from the late eighteenth to the present, Old Master paintings, photography, ceramics and studio glass, and a growing collection of contemporary art. The museum presents ten exhibitions each year and, with eleven galleries, a print-study room, 150-seat auditorium, and outdoor sculpture garden, the Palmer Museum of Art is the leading cultural resource for residents of and visitors to the region.