The Butler Institute was the first museum dedicated to American art. The original structure, listed on the National Register of Historic places, was dedicated in 1919, and the Institute’s holdings now exceed 20,000 individual works. The Butler charges no admission fee, either at the main location or at its branch museums. These satellite facilities include the Salem branch, which presents selections from the Butler’s permanent collection, exhibitions by nationally-known contemporary and historic artists, and regional art, and the Trumbull branch, which focuses on important international artists whose works have profoundly influenced America, as well as exhibitions of works by contemporary master painters and sculptors.
The Beecher Center, located in the Butler’s Youngstown location, is the first museum addition dedicated solely to new media and electronic art. The facility regularly displays works of art that utilize computers, holography, lasers and other digital media. The Beecher Center houses the Zona Auditorium, a digital media theater designed for performance art and high-definition film presentations.
The centerpiece of the Butler Institute’s collection is Snap the Whip, painted in 1872 by Winslow Homer. An icon of 19th century realism, it has been called “America’s Mona Lisa.”
Butler Institute of American Art Information
- Public Transportation: Fair (a short walk from WRTA buses 31 and 37 at Wick Avenue/East Rayen Avenue)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 11 a.m.–4 p.m., Sunday Noon–4 p.m. Closed Monday and major holidays
- Admission: Free
- Tour: Guided tours for groups can be arranged by calling the museum
- Membership: General membership: Individual ($35); Household/Couple ($45); Sustainer ($60); Donor ($100). General member benefits include invitations to exhibitions and artists openings; a subscription to the newsletter; and discounts in the museum shops and museum sponsored classes. Trustee Circle Members: Sponsor ($300); Patron ($500); Collector ($1,000); Connoisseur ($3,000); and Corporate ($5,000). Trustee member benefits also include invitations to director’s tours and Lectures, and a special complementary dinner event held each Spring.