Exploring Art and History at the St. Louis Art Museum

Welcome to the St. Louis Art Museum, a destination that combines the beauty of art and the rich history of its surrounding region. The museum showcases more than 34,000 pieces of art from diverse cultures, including American, African, Asian, European, and Oceanic. Established in 1879, the museum building itself is a work of art, situated in Forest Park, one of the largest urban parks in the United States. Whether you’re a lover of art, a history buff, or simply in search of a fun activity, a visit to the St. Louis Art Museum is a must-see experience.

The History of the St. Louis Art Museum

1904 World’s Fair

The St. Louis Art Museum has a strong historical significance that dates back to the 1904 World’s Fair, where it was founded as the City Art Museum. During the exposition, the museum had a temporary location in the Palace of Fine Arts, and it showcased several exhibitions of fine art and decorative art objects from around the world. The City Art Museum was inspired by the idea of preserving and showcasing fine art collections for future generations to appreciate, and it became a permanent institution in 1906 when it was gifted a building on Fine Arts Drive in Forest Park.

Expansion and Renovation

Over the years, the St. Louis Art Museum has undergone several expansions and renovations to better serve its visitors and to display a growing collection of works of art. In 1912, the museum added the first of several expansions, which nearly doubled its gallery space. The next major renovation came in the 1970s, which included the addition of a North Building, which increased the gallery space by 25,000 square feet. Additionally, in 1999, the museum underwent a renovation and expansion project, which added 82,000 square feet of gallery space, modernized the facility, and made it more energy-efficient. The latest expansion was completed in 2013, which added a new wing called the East Building, which features a contemporary design and added valuable gallery space for special exhibitions and the museum’s growing collection.

Collection Highlights

The St. Louis Art Museum is home to over 34,000 works of art from around the world. The collections include European and American paintings, photographs, sculptures, and decorative art objects. Some of the most significant works of art include German Expressionism, a style that emerged in the early 20th century as a reaction against academic art, and American Impressionism, which portrays the effects of light and color in nature. The museum collection includes works by artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Georgia O’Keeffe, Charles Demuth, and many others.

The museum’s collection also includes several ancient cultures, such as Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art, which offer a glimpse into the art and culture of these civilizations. Additionally, the museum holds fine examples of pre-Columbian, African, and Asian art, which showcase the cultural and artistic achievements of these lesser-known regions. Visitors can explore the galleries and immerse themselves in the diverse world of art while they learn about the history and culture of different civilizations.

The St. Louis Art Museum is a prime destination for visitors looking to explore the beauty and diversity of the fine art world. With its rich history and impressive collections, the museum serves as a beacon of knowledge, inspiration, and appreciation for the different forms of art and culture around the world.

Exploring the St. Louis Art Museum

The St. Louis Art Museum is one of the most popular destinations for art-lovers not only in Missouri but also in the entire Midwest. The museum has a vast collection of artistic and cultural treasures from around the world and throughout history. This guide will help you get the most out of your visit to this incredible museum.

Hours and Admission

The St. Louis Art Museum is open every day of the week except for Monday. Its regular hours are Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Fridays, it’s open until 9 p.m. The museum is free to enter for everyone, but some of the special exhibitions may require an additional admission fee.

It’s always a great idea to check the museum’s website before you plan your trip to find out the latest information on which exhibitions are currently on display and if there are any special events or programs happening.

Guided Tours

Guided tours are a perfect way to explore the museum and discover fascinating insights about various art exhibits. The St. Louis Art Museum offers several kinds of tours, including free daily tours, family tours, and specialized tours for schools or groups.

The free daily tours are called “Collection Conversations” and take place every day at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Visitors can ask questions and engage in discussions with knowledgeable tour guides. Family tours are designed for visitors with young children, and they take place every Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Group tours can be arranged in advance and can be customized depending on the interests of the visitors.

Audio guides are also available for rent at the museum, which offer a self-guided tour experience. The audio guides cost $5 and provide an informative, rich experience by expert curators.

Amenities and Accessibility

The St. Louis Art Museum offers plenty of amenities and is a fully accessible museum. In addition to its exceptional art collections, there is a cafe, a gift shop, and free Wi-Fi throughout the building. The cafe is an ideal place to grab a coffee before starting your gallery tour, and the gift shop is a perfect destination for selecting souvenirs and books about popular exhibits.

Moreover, the museum offers full accessibility to visitors with disabilities. All of the galleries are wheelchair accessible, and service animals are welcome in the museum. For visitors with vision or hearing impairments, the museum offers special tours led by expert guides fluent in American Sign Language and trained in audio description of artworks.

Finally, the St. Louis Art Museum has a commitment to sustainability, and it features green initiatives. It is the first museum in Missouri to become certified green, and visitors can take a self-guided tour to learn about the sustainability efforts they have put in place.

Overall, the St. Louis Art Museum is a world-class museum that everyone should experience. With its vast collections, knowledgeable guides, amenities, and accessibility, this museum is a must-see attraction for art-lovers, history-buffs, and curious visitors.

Special Exhibitions and Events

The St. Louis Art Museum is a world-renowned art museum that boasts a permanent collection of over 34,000 art pieces. The museum is known for its impressive collection of American art, including works by legendary artists such as George Caleb Bingham, Thomas Cole, and Winslow Homer. However, the museum’s offerings don’t stop there. In addition to its permanent collection, the museum also hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions throughout the year, showcasing works from around the world.

Featured Exhibitions

The St. Louis Art Museum is committed to presenting fascinating and diverse exhibitions that appeal to art lovers of all ages. The museum’s featured exhibitions often showcase works from different periods and regions, making each visit to the museum an opportunity to experience something new and exciting.

One of the museum’s most recent featured exhibitions was “The Shape of Abstraction: Selections from the Ollie Collection”, which presented abstract art from 1950-1980 through the lens of the art collector, Ollie Palmer. Another exhibition that drew crowds was “Millet and Modern Art: From Van Gogh to Dalí,” which explored the influence of 19th-century French artist, Jean-Francois Millet, on modern artists.

Aside from these exhibitions, the museum also hosts smaller, more focused exhibitions. One such exhibition was “Bisa Butler: Portraits,” which presented the stunning, large-scale portraits created by contemporary artist Bisa Butler. The exhibition was a powerful exploration of race, identity, and representation.

Events and Programs

The St. Louis Art Museum is not just a place to see great art; it is also a hub for cultural events and educational programs. The museum offers a range of events and programs that cater to different audiences, from film screenings and lectures to workshops and hands-on art-making activities for children and families.

The museum’s events and programs are designed to encourage community engagement with the arts. For example, the museum offers regular Family Sundays events, during which families can enjoy fun and educational activities, and access to the museum’s galleries for free. The museum also offers free guided tours of its collection, which are a great way to learn more about the art on display, and to find connections with the world around us.

Art in Bloom

One of the museum’s most popular events is Art in Bloom, an annual celebration of art and floral design. The event features over 35 floral arrangements inspired by works in the museum’s collection. Each arrangement is created by a different florist, who is tasked with interpreting an artwork in their own unique way.

Art in Bloom is a unique event that highlights the connections between art and nature. The event is open to the public, and visitors can enjoy the floral arrangements throughout the museum. In addition, Art in Bloom also features a variety of lectures, demonstrations, and workshops, which allow visitors to learn more about floral design, art history, and more.

In conclusion, the St. Louis Art Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves art and culture. With its impressive collection of works from around the world, its thought-provoking exhibitions, and its lively events and programs, the museum offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a seasoned art enthusiast or a curious first-time visitor, the St. Louis Art Museum is sure to leave a lasting impression on you.

The St. Louis Art Museum and the Community

The St. Louis Art Museum is more than just a showcase of beautiful art collections. It is also an institution that is dedicated to reaching out to the community and providing valuable resources to art enthusiasts of all backgrounds. Through various outreach programs, virtual resources, and public spaces, the museum has become an important part of the St. Louis community.

Outreach Programs

One of the most significant ways that the St. Louis Art Museum engages with the community is through its outreach programs. The museum partners with local schools and community organizations to provide educational opportunities for young people. For example, the museum’s Art in the Park program brings authentic art experiences into under-resourced communities, providing children and families with opportunities to create art, learn about art history, and engage with professional artists. Similarly, the museum’s School Partnership program works with local schools to provide arts integration programs that help students connect with the curriculum in meaningful ways.

In addition to these outreach programs, the museum also offers a variety of other public programs and events, such as lectures, workshops, and family programs. These programs are designed to encourage community members from all walks of life to come to the museum and engage with art in fun and educational ways.

Virtual Resources

In the age of technology, the St. Louis Art Museum recognizes the importance of providing virtual resources for people who cannot always visit the museum in person. The museum’s website contains a wealth of information about the collections, exhibitions, and events, as well as educational resources for teachers and students. Visitors can explore the museum’s online exhibitions, which feature high-resolution images and detailed descriptions of various works of art. Similarly, the museum offers virtual tours that allow visitors to experience the galleries and collections from the comfort of their homes.

The museum’s commitment to virtual resources extends beyond its website. The museum has also produced a variety of educational videos that are available for free on YouTube. These videos feature interviews with artists, curators, and educators, as well as behind-the-scenes looks at the museum’s collections and exhibitions.

The Milles Sculpture Garden

The St. Louis Art Museum’s commitment to the community extends beyond the walls of the building itself. Just outside the museum, visitors will find the Milles Sculpture Garden, a public space that features over 30 sculptures by the Swedish artist Carl Milles. The garden also includes a reflecting pool, which provides a peaceful space for contemplation and reflection. The sculptures themselves are diverse in style and form, ranging from realistic depictions of animals to abstract works that explore ideas of movement and form.

The Milles Sculpture Garden is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, and it serves as just one example of the ways in which the St. Louis Art Museum enriches the lives of people in the community.


The St. Louis Art Museum is an important cultural institution that is committed to providing valuable resources and experiences to the community. Through its outreach programs, virtual resources, and public spaces like the Milles Sculpture Garden, the museum encourages people from all walks of life to engage with art and explore their own creativity. Whether you are an art enthusiast or a newcomer to the world of art, the St. Louis Art Museum has something to offer you.

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