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Portland Museum of Art is Maine?s largest and oldest public art institution located in the downtown area of Portland known as The Arts District. Three centuries combined of American art history and culture is showcased in the museum?s three architecturally significant buildings - the Charles Shipman Payson Building, the L. D. M. Sweat Memorial Galleries, and the McLellan House. The museum?s collection of more than 17, 000 objects include decorative and fine arts dating from the 18th century to the present, featuring everything from realism to cubism, paintings, sculptures and photographs from both local and famous artists.

Founded in 1882, the Portland Museum of Art has used a variety of exhibition spaces until it was finally housed in Margaret Jane Mussey Sweat?s three-story mansion in 1908. Exhibition space became too limited that in 1976, Charles Shipman Payson donated $8 million for the construction of a new building. Construction of the new building began in 1981, designed by Henry Nichols Cobb of I. M. Pei & Partners. The Charles Shipman Payson Building has been the public face of the museum since its opening in 1983.

The heart of the Museum's collection is the State of Maine Collection, which features works by artists such as Winslow Homer, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, Louise Nevelson, and Andrew Wyeth. The Museum has the largest European collection in Maine, such as the works of European masters Degas, Picasso and Renoir.

Today, the Portland Museum of Art is visited by 160,000 visitors a year, approximately 13,000 of whom are schoolchildren. Museum membership is at an all-time high of 8,000 members and continues to grow. Not only is the art great, but you can grab lunch in the cafe. Now and into the future, the museum is committed to serving as a dynamic center for the visual arts and strives to be an essential resource not only for the people of Maine, but for everyone interested.
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