The National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts was founded in 1825 as the National Academy of Design, an honorary association of artists that has included many notable figures in American art history. Its founding members included Samuel Morse, Asher B. Durand and Thomas Cole. The original impetus of its creation was a widely held desire among artists to remove the practice of art from the traditional aristocratic patronage system; member artists, elected individually to the Academy by their peers, were afforded the resources and encouragement to develop their work, preserve and share it with the public.
The Academy has changed locations a number of times in its history, and has been at its current location (the historic mansion of sculptor and Academy member Anna Hyatt Huntington) on New York’s Museum Mile since 1942. It was originally modeled after London’s Royal Academy, containing an attached Museum and School, both of which remain vital parts of the National Academy’s existence today.
The National Academy Museum contains numerous collections of paintings, prints, drawings and sculpture by notable American artists from the 19th – 21st centuries. Exhibitions explore the work of single artists, common themes in the work of groups of artists, and stylistic periods in American art history. An array of public programs including lectures, review panels, tours and more engages visitors new and veteran alike to explore the rich legacy of art in the United States of America.
National Academy Museum Information
- Public Transportation: Very good (close to subway 4, 5, or 6 at 86th Street and M1–M4 buses)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Hours: Wednesday–Thursday noon–5 p.m., Friday–Sunday 11 a.m.–6 p.m., Closed Monday–Tuesday
- Membership: Friends of the Academy (donors of $60 or more annually, $80 for two, $40 for students/seniors/educators) enjoy free unlimited admission, invitations to exhibition openings, and reciprocal admission at the Frick Collection, Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, and The Morgan Library & Museum.