Reimagined Galleries Offer New Ways to Picture America

Delaware Art Museum’s new galleries of American Art from 1757–1900 open June 19.

On Saturday, June 19, the Delaware Art Museum will unveil its reimagined American art galleries, kicking off a series of gallery reopenings throughout the summer. Shaped by feedback from over 100 Delawareans, “Picturing America” expands the American stories told with art.

Developed largely through gifts from local donors, the Museum’s collection reflects art produced and collected in Delaware and the Brandywine Valley. “The new galleries offer a chance to reinterpret historic American artworks to share a more inclusive history,” says Chief Curator Heather Campbell Coyle. “New acquisitions by women and Black artists have added depth and diversity to the collection.”

New design showcases the collection vibrantly. A highlight of the new American galleries is a large salon-style display, wrapping walls from floor to ceiling with Gilded Age artworks. Recent acquisitions on view include a bust of Frederick Douglass by Isaac Scott Hathaway, landscapes by 19th-century African American artists Robert Duncanson and Edward Mitchell Bannister, and a new painting by Mary Macomber.

Visitors to the galleries will also find fresh context for old favorites, inviting audiences to consider how the nation’s history of enslavement and violence toward Native Americans impacted the people pictured in the paintings. Community leaders, including representatives of Delaware’s Lenape and Nanticoke tribes, consulted on the new interpretation. “We are grateful to the community members who guided this project. We look forward to sharing their voices with visitors when the new galleries open,” said Amelia Wiggins, Assistant Director of Learning and Engagement.

Picturing America opens on June 19, a day when the Museum welcomes community members to gather at the Museum to celebrate during the 2nd annual Beyond Juneteenth: Egungun Festival. The Festival, which commemorates the emancipation of Americans who had been enslaved, is hosted by Abundancechild, Dr.G and Rachelle Wilson and is free, with registration at

Reimagined main floor galleries will continue to open throughout the summer, and public tours are available at The Museum will remain open during these changes. Please check for details and updates.


Saturday, June 19: Picturing America (American Art through 1900) Opens
British Pre-Raphaelites Closed through July 30; Howard Pyle and American Illustration Closed through Sept. 8.
Saturday, July 31: Radical Beauty (British Pre-Raphaelites) Opens
Saturday, September 11: Howard Pyle and American Illustration Opens; main floor galleries are fully reopened.

Sponsors: The Museum’s reinstallation is made possible by the generosity of Sewell C. Biggs and foundations including the Choptank Foundation, the Starrett Foundation, the Richard C. Von Hess Foundation, and the Sansom Foundation. This organization is supported, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on

Press Contact: Please contact Amelia Wiggins, Assistant Director of Learning & Engagement,

About the Delaware Art Museum

For over 100 years, the Museum has served as a primary arts and cultural institution in Delaware. It is alive with experiences, discoveries, and activities to connect people with art and with each other. Originally created in 1912 to honor the renowned illustrator and Wilmington-native, Howard Pyle, the Museum’s collection has grown to over 12,000 works of art in our building and sculpture garden. Also recognized for British Pre-Raphaelite art, the Museum is home to the largest and most important Pre-Raphaelite collection outside of the United Kingdom and a growing collection of significant contemporary art. Embracing all disciplines, the Museum’s Performance Series ranges from concerts by Pyxis Piano Quartet, resident ensemble of over ten years, to cutting-edge, multi-disciplinary artists committed to social justice and pushing the boundaries of artistic practice.

Under the leadership of our Board of Trustees, the Delaware Art Museum is implementing a comprehensive approach to community and civic engagement. This exciting new strategic direction requires that we increase our value and relevance to all audiences. Visit to for the latest exhibitions, programs, and performances or connect with us via social media.