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

Summer is finally here, and I’d like to welcome back our visitors who spend their winters out of state. Additionally, I’d like to thank those who live in Maine year-round and braved the elements to attend The Coast & the Sea: Marine and Maritime Art in America and our stellar programming this winter. The support you provide is invaluable, and we’re all going to have a wonderful summer together.

This summer’s major exhibition, Directors’ Cut: Selections from the Maine Art Museum Trail, is in full swing, and it is a true event: a rare exhibition that encompasses the art, the institutions, and the spirit of Maine under one roof, confirming the vitality of cultural tourism in our state. As PMA Director, this exhibition is close to my heart, and it cheers me to see such an enthusiastic response to it.

Perfectly coinciding with Directors’ Cut is our latest Circa exhibition, Rose Marasco: index. Rose Marasco is a Maine cultural institution unto herself, and her photographs over the last four decades offer profound insight into the evolution of an artistic career. We are very proud of this show, and with good reason—it’s a remarkable retrospective of one of our state’s finest artists.

With so many great events at the PMA this summer, I hope you mark your calendars and join us! Attend a #ThirdThursPMA if you can. Some of my happiest memories from last summer involve spending time
in the sunshine in the Joan B. Burns Garden with members, visitors, and PMA staff during #ThirdThursPMA, and I can’t wait to make it an annual tradition—as much a part of Maine summer as lobster rolls and trips to the islands.

You’ll find the Fiscal Year 2014-15 Annual Report here. The PMA is thriving, and this Annual Report will help put your museum’s achievements in context, while sharing the opportunities that lay ahead. I encourage you to take the time to learn more about the year we’ve had and start getting excited about what is to come.

Our future is bright, and we thank you for your support.


 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?

September 30, 2015
Director of PMA Store

In the News

Portland Press Herald
September 13, 2015 |

Mark Bessire knew the Portland Museum of Art would have a pretty good summer when he opened the Wall Street Journal the morning of July 15 and found a package of stories about the Maine Art Museum Trail, a partnership of eight museums statewide. The newspaper highlighted art in Maine and called attention to the “Directors’ Cut” exhibition at the PMA, which tells the story of Maine art by including paintings, photography, prints and sculpture from museums across the state. The Wall Street Journal story followed by a day a similar spread in the Boston Globe.

Bessire and his Maine museum colleagues could not have bought better regional and national exposure.