Long gone is the notion that art museums simply celebrate the past. Today the museum is a vital center of cultural enrichment where art and history are not only explored but where ideas of every dimension are shown to reveal the potential of humankind. The Butler Institute of American Art with its devotion to new media and technologies is such an institution. It salutes the past and fervently believes in the future.
The only revenue The Butler receives to keep its doors open and showcase such a visually-rich collection is from generous donors of the arts like you. Please visit our donate page to learn more.
It is because of these contributions from the community that the Butler can charge no admission fee for entry to the museum. Go to our Tour page to find our location and learn our hours.
By giving to the Butler, you take part in crafting this American institution and maintaining the integrity of our mission; making you A Part of The Art. Visit the Art page to learn about the Butler Collection and what’s new in exhibitions.
In the early 1900s, Joseph G. Butler, Jr. had a vision for an institution devoted to curating and preserving the art his young America would produce: the first American Art Museum. From this vision, The Butler Institute was born. To showcase the art, he knew would eventually become some of the greatest in the world, Joseph Butler commissioned McKim, Mead & White to create an architectural masterpiece. MM&W were known for creating other great structures such as the Savoy Hotel and Madison Square Gardens in New York, NY. Thus, the original Butler structure, was officially dedicated in 1919. This inspirational building—crafted in the Italianate style iconic in many of the buildings throughout Washington DC—has been listed on the National Register of Historic places.
Today, as it was in the beginning, the Butler’s mission is to collect and preserve works of art in all media created by citizens of our country. The Institute’s holdings now exceed 22,000 individual works, from thousands of American artists, starting from its earliest work Portrait of Katherine Ten Broeck by Nehemiah Partridge dated 1719.
Joseph G. Butler, Jr. founded The Butler Institute of American Art in 1919. The Butler was incorporated and chartered by the State of Ohio. It is the first structure built to house a collection of strictly American works. Margaret Evans appointed the first Director.
Henry Audubon Butler- became President of the Board of Trustees upon death of Joseph G. Butler Jr, the museums founder.
Original McKim, Mead and White building was expanded with the addition of two lower level wings
Joseph G. Butler III became Director
The building designed by McKim, Mead and White is placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Institute is expanded with the addition of second floors to the 1931 wing additions.
Louis A. Zona is appointed the Director of The Butler Institute of American Art.
A West Wing addition doubling the square footage of the building is completed. The Hopper Research Library, Sweeney Children's Gallery, Donnell Gallery of Sports Art, and Beecher Court are opened.
With the assistance of the Medici Foundation of Trumbull County, The Butler constructs and opens a Trumbull County branch museum in Howland, Ohio.
33,000 square foot addition Beecher Center is dedicated. It is a joint project with Youngstown State University devoted to electronic and digital art, the first of its kind.
The Andrews Pavilion including Winslow's Café (now Collections Café) and an enlarged museum store is opened.
The Butler purchases the 20,337 square foot First Christian Church located next to the museum for education classes and other future purposes.
Glass bridge construction completed connecting The Butler to The First Christian church next door, leading to newly open Americana exhibitions.
The Butler Institute of American Art's centennial year, celebrating one hundred years of great American art.