Baltimore— The Walters Art Museum has received $913,000 in grant funds for projects including an upcoming special exhibition on Islamic Art and culture, a reinstallation of collection galleries to tell the story of Walters Art Museum founders William and Henry Walters, assessment of environmental climate control systems in four of the museum’s buildings, and repairs to exterior stonework of the Hackerman House. Funds are a combination of federal and private grants.
“The Walters is able to connect visitors with extraordinary works of art because of philanthropic support. Grants from federal agencies are given after a rigorous peer-review.” said Julia Marciari-Alexander, executive director of the Walters Art Museum. “To be selected from a national pool of worthy projects is an honor that should give confidence to the Walters’ many individual, corporate and foundation donors.”
Three federal agencies, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Institute for Museum Library Services (IMLS) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) have awarded $500,000 to support the fall 2015 special exhibition Pearls on a String: Art and Relationship in the Islamic World. The show’s title derives from a Persian metaphor expressing human connectivity, especially between painters, calligraphers, poets and their patrons. The exhibition and programming will offer an alternative to impersonal presentations of Islamic art by focusing on specific people and relationships among Islamic cultural leaders.
The NEH provided a $300,000 public programs implementation grant, the NEA a grant of $50,000 and the IMLS has given $150,000 to help cover costs of this international loan exhibition.
Before the museum opens Pearls on a String in 2015, the Walters will celebrate the 80th anniversary of its opening as a public museum with a major reinstallation of its fourth floor galleries focusing on museum founders in Rye to Raphael: The Walters Story. The father and son bequeathed the family’s home, art gallery and extensive collection of 22,000 pieces of art to the City of Baltimore for the benefit of the public. To support costs of implementing the exhibition, the Richard C. von Hess Foundation has granted $250,000 to the museum.
“The Trustees of the von Hess Foundation were immediately drawn to this project, because we have long admired the Walters for its fantastic collections and the experience of being in a serious museum that constantly inspires,” said Tom Cook, trustee of the Richard C. von Hess Foundation. “What a fascinating story of collectors sharing their ideas and their taste to enrich the lives of others.”
To evaluate the environmental climate systems in the museum including heating, ventilation and air conditioning, humidity controls and lighting, The Thomas B. and Elizabeth M. Sheridan Foundation, Inc. awarded the Walters $150,000. The fragility, age and special requirements of different materials demand specific climate controls and the grant supports assessment costs and creation of a plan to provide a full picture of areas and systems that most urgently need to be addressed to protect the campus and collections.
In addition to environmental assessments, the museum will commence a two-year refurbishment and upgrade to the Hackerman House in July of 2014. The Baltimore National Heritage Area has granted $13,000 to support repairs and replacement of damaged exterior stonework. The funds will preserve the Italian Renaissance architectural features and the structural integrity of the historic building. Hackerman House is located at 1 West Mount Vernon Place, just steps from the nation’s first monument in honor of President George Washington. Refurbishment will coincide with the Washington Monument restoration currently in progress.
About the Walters Museum
The Walters Art Museum is located in downtown Baltimore’s historic Mount Vernon Cultural District at North Charles and Centre Streets. At the time of his death in 1931, museum founder Henry Walters left his entire collection of art to the city of Baltimore. Between 1895 and 1931, Walters collected around 730 codices. Its permanent collection includes ancient art, medieval art and manuscripts, decorative objects, Asian art and Old Master and 19th-century paintings. The Museum Store, located next to the Museum’s Café, offers distinctive gifts, jewelry and books based on the Museum’s collections. Wyndham Baltimore Peabody Court is the official hotel of the Walters Art Museum.