The Walters Art Museum

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The Walters Art Museum is fortunate to have friends and supporters who have contributed to the general endowment or have established named endowments that further the museum’s mission of bringing art and people together for enjoyment, discovery and learning. From Henry Walters' bequest of a quarter of his fortune to establish the endowment to current gifts and bequests, gifts to the endowment provide stability for the future.

Endowed gifts are increasingly important. They insure that the financial support for the museum’s work in conservation, education, and scholarship continue. Increasingly, new gifts to the Walters endowment have the ability to help fund exhibition planning, program support, and technology.

A Foundation and a Future for the Walters Art Museum

The Trustees of the Walters Art Museum have identified three key areas to build the Walters Endowment. Those three areas are: access, keeping the Walters free and open to the public permanently; educational programming, for families, schools, and adults; and exhibitions.

Maintaining Free Access for All

If you have been to the museum recently, you have seen the vitality and energy of our visitors engaging with the collection. Perhaps you and your family have come for a free children’s program, or you have attended a lecture, participated in a class, or wandered through a favorite gallery. In 2006, the Walters trustees made the transformational decision to make access to the permanent collection free. Keeping the Walters free and open to the public permanently will require an additional $500,000 annually in income from endowment. Gifts and bequests ensure that the Walters fulfills its mission as a museum for the benefit of the public.

Support Educational Programming

The Walters Art Museum is internationally renowned for its family, school, and adult programming. Many of our staff positions in this division are supported by operating income. Gifts to endowment would ensure that programming in this area would continue to thrive and serve the more than 60,000 visitors who attend our tours and programs. Learn more about our current education, family, or adult programs.

Sponsor an Exhibition

Temporary or special exhibitions are an exceptional way to introduce museum visitors to new art, view the Walters collection in the context of other museum’s collections, or to explore themes in art and history. We increasingly rely on individual donors or a growing endowment for special exhibitions to continue to put on these exhibitions. The Walters needs an additional $500,000 in annual endowment income for temporary exhibitions that support upcoming exhibitions.

How do You Make a Gift to the Walters Endowment?

An endowment gift can resonate for generations in the life of an institution. The principal of the gift is invested and managed even as income from the endowment supports ongoing programs. After discussing current museum objectives and funding gaps with the staff of the Development Department, donors can make a decision to establish an endowment with an initial gift and pledge agreement to fund the position over subsequent years, or leave a bequest to fund a program or position.

For example, a long-time member may have an interest in supporting the museum’s education programs. He or she has investments and property that are an important source of support presently, but can be converted into an endowment after the donor’s death. The donor makes a provision in the will to treat the museum as an equal legatee with his heirs; providing for the children as well as ensuring that support for the museum continues as a perpetual gift.

For another example, a husband and wife are interested in supporting exhibitions and establish a fund named after them. They make an annual gift to the named fund and take advantage of the tax deduction every year as they contribute. They also have the satisfaction of knowing that they will bring Baltimore exceptional exhibitions that are up to the Walters standard.

For information on giving to the endowment initiatives, please contact Laurent Fisher at 410-547-9000 x311 or