The Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute was founded by three generations of one prominent Utica family; its Museum of Art had its genesis as that family’s private collection, which was renowned for its depth and expanse while it was still in private hands. The collection was initially held in the family house, Fountain Elms, until rapid postwar acquisition and expansion led to the construction of a new building, designed by Philip Johnson, which opened in 1961. A museum education wing combined the two structures in 1995.
The Institute maintains the Fountain Elms wing essentially as a house museum; the furnishings and decorations all date from the Victorian era, many of them collected by the museum’s founders. In particular, make time (no pun intended) for the Proctor collection of European watches and timepieces, which date from 1575. The Johnson building houses the museum’s collection of modern and contemporary art; highlights include Pollock’s Number 2, 1949, O’Keeffe’s Pelvis with Pedernal and Prendergast’s Landscape with Figures.
Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute Museum of Art Information
- Public Transportation: Good (steps from CENTRO buses 15, 24, 29, 30, and 129 at Eagle Street/Genesee Street, which you can catch at the Amtrak Utica Boehlert Transportation Center; and a short walk from bus 31 at Oneida Street/Genesee Street)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m.–5 p.m.
- Admission: Free
- Tour: Guided group tours are offered for groups of five or more adults. Tours may include a general introduction to the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions, or may be tailored to the special interests of individual groups. Tours may be scheduled for any time during museum hours, although afternoon tours are recommended. Schedule tours at least three weeks prior to the desired tour date
- Membership: Individual membership is $50 (Students $25, Seniors $45, Senior Household $65, Family/Household $75). Member benefits are tiered with every member receiving discounts at the Gift Gallery; discounts on Art Education Workshops; discounts at the School of Art; discounts on tickets to selected performing arts events; discounts on MWPAI facility rentals; free use of the MWPAI Art Reference and Music Libraries; invitations to special events, exhibition previews, and receptions; the MWPAI Bulletin, and other announcements heralding upcoming events; recognition in MWPAI publications; and reciprocal privileges at many New York State museums.