Building the Worcester Art Museum

View of the sculpture galleries in the original Museum building

View of the sculpture galleries in the original Museum building.

By the 1890s, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia all had art museums. Worcester philanthropist Stephen Salisbury III believed his hometown deserved one, too, and he joined forces with other community leaders to build an art museum for Worcester. They envisioned a museum that would not be a repository of a rich man's treasures, but an institution created “for the benefit of all.” People of all ages, walks of life, and backgrounds would view masterpieces from around the world and be educated—as never before—about art and the world in which it was created.

Key dates

arrow_drop_down 1898 – The beginning of a great art museum

arrow_drop_down 1921 – More space is needed

arrow_drop_down 1933 – A grand new wing

arrow_drop_down 1938 – Adding a fourth floor

arrow_drop_down 1970 – The Higgins Education Wing

arrow_drop_down 1983 – The Frances Hiatt Wing

arrow_drop_down 2015 – Salisbury Access Bridge