Museum: New Britain Museum of American Art

Museum: New Britain Museum of American Art

Edited & Published by Dina Reis, CEO & editor-in-chief of

What a gem we discovered driving back from The Berkshires to New York City. The New Britain Museum of American Art is nestled right next to Walnut Hill Park, which was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, whose credits include that tiny park – Central Park in the heart of New York City

The museum began as the New Britain Institute, chartered in 1853, which included an “art room” which included portraits of prominent figures. In 1937, the Art Museum of the Britain Institute opened in a stone mansion it had been bequeathed. Fast forward to 2006, when The Chase Family Building, designed by Ann Bera Architects of Boston, open giving the collection 12 new galleries. The New Britain Museum of American Art is now one of New England’s largest museums.

The impressive permanent collection includes all the notable American artists from Thomas Cole, Frederic Edwin Church, Georgia O’Keeffe, Grandma Moses, Mary Cassatt to John Singleton Copley. As you walk through the galleries, the art (arranged chronologically, love that!) becomes a history lesson as well. It’s a little-known museum (well, to us at least) and well worth a trip.

The sculpture collection is as impressive as the picture gallery; with works by Harriet Whitney Frishmuth’sPeter Pan and Michael McLaughlin’sBoys of Summer and the delightful Grizzly Bear Bench by Judy Kensley McKie.

Most notable is Thomas Hart Benton’s celebrated five-panel mural,” The Arts of Life in America” (1932).

The museum’s contemporary art holdings include works by Chuck CloseDan FlavinEva HesseJulie HeffernanWalton Ford and Graydon Parrish. Graydon Parrish’s large realist painting The Cycle of Terror and Tragedy is an allegorical tribute to those lost in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

On the NBMAA Second Floor Galleries, check out California Dreaming Ed Moses, Billy Al Bengston & Ed Ruscha through October 15, 2017, an exciting, powerful and bright show featuring three still painting artists.

The museum sponsors art classes, family and evening events. It’s clear to this museum-goer that The New Britain Museum of American Art is a vital part of the community.


New Britain Museum of American Art

56 Lexington St

New Britain, CT 06052

(860) 229-0257

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