The Preservation Project
Until recently, the I. M. Pei-designed Charles Shipman Payson Building has been the public face of the Museum. Although the original vision of both the architect and the Museum's strategic plan was to integrate all three Museum buildings—the Charles Shipman Payson Building (1983), the L. D. M. Sweat Memorial Galleries (1911), and the McLellan House (1801)—only recently has the Museum been positioned to fullfill the architect's dream. In January 2000, thanks to the generous support from the community, the Museum launched a $13.5 million capital campaign to raise funds for the preservation and educational interpretation of its two historic structures. The preservation project began in the fall of 2000 and was completed two years later. This project to "complete the Museum" returned the McLellan House to its original Neoclassical elegance and the L. D. M. Sweat Memorial Galleries to their original Beaux-Arts splendor, in the process creating distinctive spaces for the Museum's outstanding collection of 19th-century American art. The Payson building now houses American and European works from the 20th and 21st centuries. The McLellan House is the site for the domestic, architectural, and artistic history of 19th-century New England. The House's formal rooms have been restored to the exceptional level of beauty that distinguished them as Portland's grandest domestic setting in the early 1800s. Discreetly placed interactive computer stations allow visitors to access detailed information on the social, economical, political, and art history of the 1800s and to apply that information to 19th century American art objects now on permanent display in the restored L. D. M. Sweat Memorial Galleries. With the opening of the McLellan House and Sweat Galleries on October 5, 2002, the Portland Museum of Art became a unique art museum. Visitors now move through three landmark structures that comprise a "museum of museums," presenting a telling example of the evolution of museum architecture in the United States.
Bob Vila visits the McLellan House
McLellan House Decor
McLellan House Interactivities
National Preservation Honor Award
McLellan House Press Kit