About the PMA

The Portland Museum of Art strives to enrich the lives of people through acquisition, preservation, and interpretation of the visual arts and the Museum's architecturally significant buildings.

With an extensive collection and nationally renowned exhibitions, the Portland Museum of Art is the cultural heart of Portland, Maine. The PMA boasts significant holdings of American, European, and contemporary art, as well as iconic works from Maine—highlighting the rich artistic tradition of the state and its artists. The museum brings it all to life with unparalleled programming. From special members-only events, Free School Tours, and a commitment to family activities to PMA Movies, curator talks, and exclusive tours of the Winslow Homer Studio—it’s all happening at the PMA.

Our Vision

The Portland Museum of Art creates outstanding exhibitions and educational programs to inspire our audiences. We embrace our rich past, dynamic present, and vibrant future to be a vital arts center for the city, region, and nation. Leveraging the strength of our collection, scholarship, and geographic location, we will excel in these distinct areas:

The ongoing exploration of the creative culture of the state of Maine within the context of American art and culture.
The interpretation of European modernism through our collection and programs.
The presentation of progressive exhibitions beyond our collection that address local and global issues.
The integration of our unique architectural campus into the fabric of Portland and the state of Maine.

The Portland Museum of Art strives to engage our audiences in a dialogue about the relevance of art and culture to our lives. Aspiring to facilitate this conversation through exhibitions, programs, and partnerships, we dedicate ourselves to serving and supporting our local and national community. In order to provide a learning environment for our audiences, we commit ourselves to good governance, professional development, and fiscal responsibility.

A Message From Our Director

All summer long, visitors from near and far have confirmed that Maine’s artistic legacy is among the strongest in the country, and that our art institutions play a significant role in shaping the state’s economic landscape. The positive feedback about Directors’ Cut: Selections from the Maine Art Museum Trail has been wonderful, and we are incredibly grateful. With the recent launch of our collection online, summer events including #ThirdThursPMA and the Contemporaries Midsummer Party, and special guests such as John Wilmerding and the Museum of Fine Art’s Malcolm Rogers, the past few months have been truly remarkable.

This fall, we turn our attention to Maine’s artistic legacies in the making with our ninth Biennial, You Can’t Get There From Here. This year marks the first time we’ve invited someone to independently curate the exhibition, and Alison Ferris—a longtime Maine resident and curator at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin—has exceeded our expectations. The show promises a profound overview of Maine’s contemporary art scene, and our members are going to be thrilled to discover all of the exciting things that are going on in our state, right now.

As always, I would like to give special thanks to our members. Their support, enthusiasm, and generosity are at the heart of all that we do and strive to be. We’re proud to be their museum—and yours.

 Mark H. C. Bessire, Director

Become a Member

Members enable the PMA to provide spectacular programming, unique exhibitions, and remarkable events. They believe in the transformative power of the arts. They value community. If this sounds like you, we invite you to explore the many levels of membership available at the PMA and become a part of something special.

Museum History & Architecture

Photo by Craig Becker

Originally founded as the Portland Society of Art, the Museum used a variety of exhibition spaces until 1908. That year Mrs. Margaret Jane Mussey Sweat bequeathed her three-story mansion, now known as the McLellan House, and sufficient funds to create a gallery in memory of her late husband, Lorenzo de Medici Sweat. Noted New England architect John Calvin Stevens designed the L. D. M. Sweat Memorial Galleries, which opened to the public in 1911.

Contact Us

Portland Museum of Art
Seven Congress Square
Portland, Maine 04101
(207) 775-6148
(207) 773-7324 Fax

Key Facts & Stats

Founded in 1882

Located in the downtown arts district in Portland, Maine

Maine's largest and oldest public art institution, founded in 1882

With more than 8,000 members, the PMA boasts a strong base of loyal support both locally and regionally

Recognized as "one of the best medium-size museums in New England," by Boston Globe

Largest collection of European art north of Boston

Comprehensive collection of Winslow Homer's graphics

140,000 visitors per year

Nearly 6,000 schoolchildren per year

More than 18,000 objects of fine and decorative arts in the collection, dating from the 18th-century to the present

Approximately 10 changing exhibitions per year

What's Going on at the PMA?

November 6, 2015
Director of Brand Management

In the News

Portland Press Herald
November 19, 2015 |

The Portland Museum of Art, Portland police and the FBI on Thursday announced the recovery of the remaining two of six N.C. Wyeth paintings stolen from Portland landlord Joseph Soley in 2013.