The building that houses the Saint Louis Art Museum (SLAM) was originally designed and built by renowned architect Cass Gilbert for the 1904 World’s Fair. The current Museum building is only part of what was a larger Palace of Fine Arts, which included a portion for temporary use only.
The Museum itself has been around since 1879, when it was a department of Washington University. In 1906 the Museum moved into its current building, and soon after in 1909, St. Louis voters approved tax support for the museum, enabling free admission, still in place today.
The Museum’s collection is comprehensive in scope, containing works from nearly every major culture and time period. Areas of particular strength are Oceanic and pre-Columbian art, ancient Chinese bronze, and European and American art of the 19th and 20th centuries. Prints, drawings and photographs constitute the largest portion of the collection, with over 14,000 items spanning six centuries of art history. Featured exhibitions focus on particular artists or time periods in art and human history, and are notably the only part of the Museum that is not always free to the public.
SLAM’s education program offers a full range of classes, seminars, and workshops for all ages, as well as on-site community programs, school tours and a Print Study room for Prints, Drawings and Photographs.
Saint Louis Art Museum Information
- Public Transportation: Poor
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10 am-5 pm; Closed Mondays, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
- Admission: General admission is free every day. Admission to featured exhibitions varies.
- Free Day: Admission to featured exhibitions is free every Friday.
- Tours: Docent-led tours available Tuesday-Friday, 10:30 am, and Saturday-Sunday, 1:30 pm. School or group tours are available, with a request for at least 4 weeks advance notice.
- Membership: Regular membership (valid for two adults) is $55 (Students/Seniors $49.50), and includes free unlimited admission to featured exhibitions, special exhibition previews and member events, discounts on Museum Dining and Shopping, as well as lectures, performances, and art classes.