The Muscarelle Museum of Art was a gift to the College of William & Mary from alumni and friends. In the 1970s, a visitor remarked to then-President Thomas A. Graves, Jr. that there was a Georgia O'Keeffe painting hanging, unprotected, on a wall on campus. This led President Graves to wonder what other treasures were scattered across campus. To find out, he enlisted the aid of Miles Chappell of the Art History department to conduct a survey to determine what artworks the College owned.
The museum's major benefactors were Joseph L. Muscarelle (W&M '27) and his wife Margaret, who generously supported the formation of a museum and whose family has continued their support throughout the years.
The Museum opened in 1983 with Glenn Lowry (later director at MOMA in New York) as the first Director, and underwent a major building construction and remodeling project in 1987, which resulted in a facility twice the original size.
The Muscarelle Museum of Art was accredited by the American Association of Museums in 1988 and received subsequent accreditation in 2000. The museum was the first university/college museum of art in the Commonwealth of Virginia to be accredited by the AAM.
Its mission is to provide a rich cultural resource for the College and to pursue an active role in the overall cultural life of the region through collections; outreach and educational programs; research and study; and the presentation of exhibitions and works of art.
Further information about this individual or organization may be available in the Special Collections Research Center Wiki:
and Margaret Muscarelle Museum of Art.