The Huntsville Museum of Art sits in Big Spring Park, the epicenter of the dynamic and evolving city center that is Downtown Huntsville, and works as a magnet for cultural activities. Founded in 1970 by city ordinance of the Museum Board of the City of Huntsville, the Museum serves Huntsville and Madison County’s combined population of 420,000 residents. The mission statement of the Museum is to bring people and art together through acquiring, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting the highest quality works of art. The mission statement is based on two beliefs: An understanding that the arts enriches lives; and that visual ideas are best perceived, understood and enjoyed through first-hand experience of original artistic achievement.
The Huntsville Museum of Art is a non-profit municipal corporation established by the City of Huntsville, Alabama, and governed by a city-appointed Museum Board. The Museum seeks to foster understanding of the visual arts and appreciation of artistic achievement. The mission of the Museum is to bring people and art together through acquiring, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting the highest quality works of art.
The Museum’s 75,034 square foot facility is located in Downtown Huntsville and includes fourteen galleries covering 20,000 square feet. The original building opened in 1998 and housed seven galleries. The Davidson Center for the Arts expansion in 2010 added seven more galleries to the original seven, for a total of the current fourteen galleries. The Stender Family Interactive Galleries includes an Escher-esque color wheel and “A Walk Through Time,” which reveals ancient cultures and art through the ages.
Numerous meeting and event spaces are available throughout the Museum to accommodate weddings, receptions, meetings and other events. The entire complex is designed to integrate interior and exterior spaces and serve as a tangible focal point for quality of life and economic development benefiting the entire Huntsville/Madison County area. The Museum is fully handicap accessible.
The permanent collection of the Huntsville Museum of Art is comprised of over 3,200 objects, primarily focused on 19th and 20th century American art with an emphasis on art from the Southeast. African, Asian, and European art, from cultures influential on American art, is the Museum’s secondary collecting focus.
The collection holds some 400 works on paper by American artists such as James McNeill Whistler, Reginald Marsh, John Sloan, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol. These works have allowed the Museum to provide its community first-hand access to original works of art by leading 20th century masters.
Since 1998, nearly 70 contemporary works in wood, glass, metal, clay and fiber have been added to the collection, including works by Dale Chihuly, William Morris and Philip Moulthrop. In 2008, the Museum acquired the prestigious Sellars Collection of Art by American Women, a landmark gathering of over 400 paintings, drawings and sculptures that heralds achievements of more than 250 American women artists active between 1850 and 1940. An eclectic holding of more than 600 works in various media form the remainder of the collection, such as the unique assembly of sterling silver animals created by the luxury Italian jewelry firm of Buccellati; European and Japanese prints; Chinese snuff bottles; carved African objects; and other valuable community resources that affirm that artistic heritage and provide context for American achievements in the arts. In 2017, the Museum acquired the historic portrait of Ethel Waters, created by well-known artist, Luigi Lucioni.
Please visit our Permanent Collection page for additional information.
Collections for Travel:
The Huntsville Museum of Art has two collections available for travel: Rebels with a Cause and John James Audubon: The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America.
Rebels With a Cause presents outstanding selections of painting, drawings and sculptures from The Huntsville Museum of Art’s recently acquired Sellars Collection of Art by American Women. This landmark holding celebrates the achievements of over 250 talented female artists active between the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries. Many rebelled against the convention of their day by exhibiting alongside their male counterparts, receiving awards, and pioneering the way for those who would follow. Today, art historians are rediscovering their accomplishments and establishing their rightful place in the expanding narrative of American history.
John James Audubon: The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America presents 36 original large-format Audubon prints from the private collection of Mr. & Mrs. William H. Told, Jr. of New York. The Told’s collected these prints for nearly four decades, having received their first — a marmot — as a gift. They appreciated the scientifically accurate animal subjects (some of which are now extinct) as well as the beautifully detailed backgrounds that often included native foliage and other naturalistic details. The Tolds have graciously donated their impressive collection to the Huntsville Museum of Art.
The Museum maintains an active, engaging schedule of exhibitions and programs through its permanent collections and special exhibitions. The Voices of Our Times series brings people of note in the arts, academia, publishing and politics to the Huntsville Museum of Art for in-depth discussions and presentations. The Family Programs offer fun, interactive art making activities for families with children ages three and up. In the Museum Academy, art classes are offered weekdays and Saturdays for children ages three and up. High School and adult art classes and workshops are also available.
Honors & Achievements:
The Museum was first accredited by The American Alliance of Museums in 1980 and re-accredited with distinction in 1989, 2004 and 2020.
Named as one of Alabama’s “Top 10” destinations by the Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel.
Voted “Best of Bama” by Alabama Magazine for the Best Art Museum in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, and 2022.