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.

The Portland Museum of Art is a place where centuries of American and European art merge with cutting-edge contemporary exhibitions and innovative educational programs. Housed in a modern building on the coast of Maine and in the cultural heart of Portland, the PMA boasts a permanent collection that includes masters of Realism, Impressionism, and Surrealism such as Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Andrew Wyeth, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and many more. The PMA’s commitment to Maine’s vibrant creative community extends to the renovated Winslow Homer Studio in Prouts Neck, the PMA store, the PMA Café, and a wide range of special events.

Our Vision

The Portland Museum of Art will create 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

It’s been an exceptional summer here in Portland, Maine. The city has embraced its national esteem and affirmed itself as a place where you can start a business, found an organization, or lay the roots for a lifetime in Maine. It’s an exciting time for the region, and the PMA is taking the lead in shaping our community for generations to come.

We’ve met the high expectations of Portland head on, bringing nationally renowned exhibitions to the museum with greater frequency and larger impact. Richard Estes’ Realism was a blockbuster, and the buzz surrounding the art and our role in bringing this retrospective to Maine was palpable.

The Wall Street Journal hailed Richard Estes’ Realism as, “confirm[ing] his place as one of our most accomplished painters.” We wholeheartedly agree, and feel this exhibition helped firmly establish the PMA as the best regional museum in the country.

The PMA is excited to build on this momentum this fall. The greatest private collection of British artwork in America will open at the PMA on October 2. Treasures of British Art 1400-2000: The Berger Collection is an uncanny exhibition that presents impeccable art spanning six centuries—there is truly something for everyone. It’s the kind of exhibition that will unite the diverse and sophisticated group of art enthusiasts that is the PMA membership, and we’re thrilled to bring it to the PMA.

In February 2016, the PMA will usher in a new era for the museum, the city, and you—our members. As we prepare to unveil your museum, reimagined, you’ll see more from the PMA than ever: more partnerships with local businesses and organizations, more innovative programming and events, more nationally lauded exhibitions, and more focus on our incredible permanent collection.

This fall, it’s all happening at the PMA, and we look forward to sharing it with you.

 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 2, 2014
Content Writer and Editor
There are whispers on the Portland-area playgrounds that the PMA has a haunted mansion. This is, of course, preposterous. Sure, the McLellan House is old and stately, and it’s easy to imagine walking by after dark and seeing a mysterious shadow in the second-story window. But trust us, it’s probably just Mike in security.

In the News

Bangor Daily News
October 16, 2014 |

PORTLAND, Maine — Step away from the bustle of Congress Square, walk through the red velvet curtains at the Portland Museum of Art and enter a time of monarchs and battleships, corsets and coursers, a rare crucifixion and queens.