People might not flock to Portland for its art museums, but the Portland Art Museum is the oldest art museum in the Pacific Northwest and houses a fine permanent collection as well as several fabulous temporary exhibitions every year. The Northwest Film Center is also under the Portland Art Museum umbrella.
Located in what is known as the South Park Blocks in downtown Portland, the Portland Art Museum was founded in late 1892 and since its recent additions and renovations now ranks among the 25 largest art museums in the United States. The museum moved to its present location in 1932 and was designed by Portland architect Pietro Belluschi, and has undergone several expansions since then. The museum’s grounds feature an outdoor public sculpture garden as well as indoor exhibits.
There are more than 35,000 pieces in the permanent collection, and the different sections of the museum include Modern & Contemporary Art, Asian Art, and large sections on both Northwest Art and Native American Art. The museum has art from Europe and Africa as well. One of the more recent acquisitions the Portland Art Museum made was in 2001 when it purchased a New York art critic’s private collection of 159 pieces. They added significantly to the existing collection of modern and contemporary artwork and required that the museum expands into the refurbished former Masonic Temple nearby.
Perhaps the most well-known piece at the Portland Art Museum is one of the “Water Lilies” by Claude Monet, housed in the modern and contemporary art section. But the museum’s sections on Asian, Northwest, and Native American art are of particular and regional interest.
The Northwest Film Center, a part of the Portland Art Museum, has both a regular schedule of screened films and hosts annual film festivals in the city as well.
Visit Oregon Museum to View 40,000 Artwork Items and Masterpieces
One of the 25 largest museums in the country, with impressive touring exhibitions and permanent collections, including the centers for Northwest and Native American Art. The Museum is conveniently located on the historic Park Blocks in the center of downtown Portland, which is easy to get around by public transit or on foot. The Portland Business Alliance has installed way-finding signs that direct you to the cultural district, where the Museum is located.
The Willamette River divides the City of Portland into east and west districts. The Portland Art Museum, located at 1219 SW Park Avenue, is roughly 12 blocks south of West Burnside Street and nine blocks west of the Willamette River. (Park Avenue is the same as 9th Avenue). The Museum is bounded by SW Park Avenue to the east, 10th Avenue to the west, Jefferson Street to the south, and Main Street to the north.
A guide to visiting the Portland Art Museum to see varied American, European, Asian, Native American, and African sculpture, photography, art, silver, artifacts, and more.
With over 350,000 visitors per year, the Portland Art Museum is a wonderful destination for visitors to and locals of Portland, the beautiful City of Roses. The museum houses a permanent collection of approximately 40,000 art and artifact objects displayed in an amazing 112,000 square feet of gallery space.
Founded in 1892, the Portland Art Museum is the oldest art museum in the Pacific Northwest. The six-story museum is internationally respected for its exquisite collections, lectures, tours, educational programs, artistic inspirations, and special exhibitions.
Portland Art Museum Collection
The museum’s collection is constantly changing as some pieces are loaned out and artworks from other museums are borrowed. This keeps the museum interesting, as there is something new to see on each visit. Outstanding traveling exhibitions that change often also add to the museum’s appeal.
Just a few of the many objects one can see at the museum are varied American paintings and sculpture, European paintings, sculpture, and classical antiquities, a suite of four galleries of Asian arts, Native American artifacts, and assorted sculpture, photography, art, lovely silver, and contemporary and modern art.
The museum’s huge and comprehensive collection and dedication to the preservation of a wide range of art will surely add to the enrichment of present and future generations. A visit to the Portland Art Museum is something that should not be missed.
Frommer’s Travel Review Impressed with Native American Artifacts and Art
From the Portland Art Museum Website, Frommer’s travel website says “…the best reason to visit is to see the extensive collection of Native American art and artifacts. There’s also a good collection of Northwest contemporary art that includes a fascinating two-story wall of ‘artifacts’ by glass artist William Morris.”
According to the Portland Art Museum website, “The [Native American art] collection, remarkable for both its depth and diversity, consists of more than 5,000 prehistoric and historic objects created by more than 200 cultural groups from throughout North America…”
Educational Opportunities at the Portland Art Museum
The Portland Art Museum offers educational events for the entire family and also has a wonderful education center to visit. There are studio art classes (via scheduled events or drop-in hours), tours, presentations (as arranged), online teacher guides, and more. The College Student Pass Program offers students a year’s admission to the Museum for only $10—the price of one regular adult ticket.
There is a Travel Information page, a calendar and events section, information on exhibits and collections, and much more on the museum website (link below).
- Portland Art Museum Address: 1219 SW Park Avenue, Portland, OR 97205
- Admission prices (about $11-$15); for more information call 503.226.2811.
- FAX: 503.226.4842
- Payment Accepted: check, cash, MasterCard, Visa, or Discover Card.
- Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
- Bus Parking: No
- Group Discounts: Yes
- Memberships Available: Yes (Membership is reciprocal with certain other museums.)
Be sure to call or check the museum website before visiting as information may change.