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James A. Michener Art Museum records


Held at: James A. Michener Art Museum Archives [Contact Us]138 South Pine Street, Doylestown, PA, 18901

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the James A. Michener Art Museum Archives. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The James A. Michener Art Museum, located in Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, is an independent, non-profit cultural institution dedicated to preserving, interpreting, and exhibiting the art and cultural heritage of the Bucks County region. Opened in 1988, the museum is named for Doylestown's most famous son, James A. Michener, the Pulitzer-Prize winning writer and supporter of the arts who first dreamed of a regional art museum in the early 1960s.

The massive stone walls and warden's house that make up the core of the Michener Art Museum began as the Bucks County prison in 1884. After a century of use, the abandoned buildings were being torn down when the county commissioners agreed to preserve the historic landmark and lease the land and buildings to house the new museum. After extensive renovation, the museum opened to the public on September 15, 1988.

The museum has evolved from a modest facility with a locally derived mission to an accredited museum with a broad vision. A world-class collection of Pennsylvania Impressionist paintings and changing exhibitions ranging from international touring shows to regionally focused exhibitions attract visitors from around the world.

Surrounded by historic prison walls, the Patricia D. Pfundt Sculpture Garden and terraces, and a landscaped courtyard, the museum encompasses 40,000 square feet of public space that includes seminar and conference facilities, a museum shop and cafe, an art research library, the George Nakashima Reading Room, and gallery space. The Martin Wing includes preparation areas and collection storage spaces and the glass-walled Edgar N. Putnam Event Pavilion provides a space for special events.

Throughout the year, the museum hosts a wide range of art-based programs open to the public, including lectures, artists conversations, gallery talks, artist studio tours, dance and jazz performances, Ladies Nights Out, family-themed activities, and other events. The museum also offers art classes for children and adults, which include instruction in drawing, painting, sculpting, and printmaking as well as programs designed to enhance artistic awareness.


James A. Michener Art Museum. "About the James A. Michener Art Museum." 2016. Accessed August 13, 2016.

James A. Michener Art Museum records, circa 1979-2016, consist of administrative and financial records; materials from museum staff and the director's office; trustee materials; membership records; visitor services and museum shop materials; various departmental files, including curatorial, education, and exhibition files; collection and registrar records; events materials; development records; marketing and public relations materials; records relating to the museum website and social media outlets; museum publications and printed matter; property and building materials, including several architectural drawings, blueprints, photographs and other materials from the Museum's expansions and other construction-related work; photographs; awards and certificates; ephemera; and other materials.

Exhibition materials contain documents relating to exhibitions at the museum, including materials from the James A. Michener Arts Center Inaugural Exhibition of Twentieth-Century American Art, 1988-1989; files related to artists who have participated in exhibitions; newspaper and magazine clippings and printouts related to exhibitions; posters, mailings, ads, and other marketing materials for the exhibitions; press releases; exhibition catalogs; photographs and slides; text from the exhibition; and other materials. There are also materials relating to the Creative Bucks County exhibit highlighting creative personalities associated with the county, including photographs, negatives with notations, photograph albums of the exhibit, movie clips and compilations used in exhibit, manuscript materials, and ephemera. Another exhibit represented in the collection is the Hall of Artists exhibit, circa 1992-1994, including correspondence, general exhibit information, artist biographies, advisory board packets, tour info, exhibit construction and design materials, meeting agendas and minutes, technical drawings/schematics, and other materials.

Photographic materials contain images of the Art Museum buildings and events and people associated with the Museum. Formats include prints, contact sheets, slides, and film negatives.

More detailed finding aids, biographical notes, or inventories for individual portions of this collection may be available on-site or on the Michener Archives finding aid page:

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2014-2016 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.

In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact James A. Michener Art Museum Archives directly for more information.

James A. Michener Art Museum Archives
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Sarah Leu and Anastasia Matijkiw through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories using information provided by the James A. Michener Art Museum Archives
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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Collection Inventory

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