Newport Art Museum Receives $5M Anonymous Gift

Jan 3, 2017

Elijah Baxter, American, 1849-1939, "Guardians of the Coast, 1922" Oil on canvas. Newport Art Museum.
Credit Newport Art Museum

The Newport Art Museum has received an anonymous donation of nearly $5 million dollars, more than tripling its endowment. The museum plans to use the money for new visitor programs and more.

The museum’s board of trustees decided to allocate the $4.7 million dollar gift to the institution’s permanent endowment. The museum can withdraw a certain percentage each year for operations – such as youth programming and building improvements. But Executive Director Norah Diedrich says the gift could help attract more philanthropy.

“A gift of this magnitude really sends a statement, and it sends a statement loud and clear about what this museum means and a commitment to its continued good work for future generations.”

Diedrich says the museum has just completed a new strategic plan. It involves offering more programs to help visitors engage with exhibits and to extend the reach of the museum into the community.

“I think the thrust of our vision for the future has to do with audience engagement. And that’s everything from our green space and our campus and signage to what happens inside the building to what happens beyond the walls of the museum and what we do out in the community.”

The donation is the largest gift in the museum’s history. The Newport Art Museum’s permanent collection includes more than 2,000 works of American art focused on Newport and New England artists. The museum in 100 years old.