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

Summer is here and on behalf of everyone at the PMA, I’d like to welcome back all of our out-of-state members and visitors who reside in Maine seasonally or visit only during these months. Your commitment from afar is much appreciated, and we look forward to seeing you soon. We certainly have an exciting summer planned for you—and, naturally, for those who live in Maine year-round—with exhibitions and programming geared to art lovers of all ages.

Everyone at the PMA is extremely excited about our major summer exhibition, Richard Estes’ Realism. This is only the second retrospective of Estes’ work (the first was at the PMA back in 1991) in the United States. Many people have been hoping for a major realism show, and the early buzz about this one is absolutely sensational.

I’m also thrilled to share the news that starting June 19, the PMA will be open until 9 p.m. on the third Thursday of every month. You have been asking for more non-traditional hours to visit (in addition to
the ever-popular Free Friday evenings), and your message was well received—we are pleased to offer “Third Thursdays” for special events and evening strolls through the galleries. Whether it's for a family night out, a date night, or a post-workday visit, join us! Use #ThirdThursPMA and #PtldMuseumofArt to keep up with all the action and to share your experience online. We look forward to welcoming you to the museum on Third Thursday evenings.

Summer is also a time to relax, recharge, and create memories with friends and family—the perfect time to stop by the PMA Family Space and check out the installations, activities, and events. Visit soon and visit often. See you at the PMA!

 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


Contact list by department

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

150,000 visitors per year

Nearly 12,000 schoolchildren per year

More than 17,000 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?

August 13, 2014
Copywriter and Editor
The Maine paintings of Richard Estes seem to exist outside of time. The landscapes he chose to paint remain more or less the same to this day; they could recall in viewers a vacation from 40 years ago or a day hike from last week. Even his Maine pictures with human subjects have a timeless feel.

In the News

The New York Sun
August 18, 2014 |

This is another summer that I’ve stopped by the Portland Museum to discover a show that is truly special. A few years ago it was Winslow Homer and the Poetics of Place. Last year it was The William S. Paley Collection: A Taste for Modernism. These exhibitions are a reminder of the glory that a medium-sized museum can be.