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Museum celebrates 60th anniversary

Nov. 09, 2012 @ 11:50 PM

HUNTINGTON — When Janet Bromley first visited the Huntington Museum of Art for her first painting class in 1954, when the museum was just two years old, there was little more to the museum than an entranceway and two galleries.

A lot has changed since then.

"There's no other way to describe the change than an explosion of activity," she said. "As they created more programs, they needed more space and more people, and it's only gotten bigger from there."

Bromley was one of more than 200 people who attended the museum's 60th anniversary celebration, which was in conjunction with the opening of the museum's new exhibit "Mr. Fitz: Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Huntington Museum of Art."

The exhibit features a fraction of the works donated to the museum by the late Herbert Fitzpatrick, who donated the 52 acres of land for a site to build an art gallery to store his collection, which became the Huntington Museum of Art.

Out of the 430 pieces he donated to the museum, 120 were on display Friday night, said Margaret Mary Layne, director of the museum.

"There is a broad mix of things and people here," she said. "We wanted to make this event about engaging the way we created in the past with the way we create today and showing how they blend to make us who we are as a museum."

This exhibit runs through February 3, 2013, before taking a brief hiatus. The exhibit reopens again on February 23, 2013, and runs through October 20, 2013.

Bromley credited the museum's success to people, like Layne, who have made it a priority to make the museum accessible to the masses.

"It has provided a place for anyone, regardless of whether they have a lot of money or no money, to see quality artwork basically without any significant cost to them," she said. "You see the variety of things they have here, and it gives anyone and everyone in Huntington a chance to observe this work and gain an appreciation for the talent behind these crafts."

The Huntington Museum of Art is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. The museum is closed to the public on Mondays.

For more information, call 304-529-2701 or visit www.hmoa.org.

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