Remembering Peggy Osher

Remembering Peggy Osher

On May 22, the PMA lost a great friend when Peggy Osher passed away at the age of 88. To reflect on Peggy’s impact at the museum, all one has to do is reflect on the initiatives named for her—in particular the Peggy L. Osher Education Endowment, which supports the PMA’s docent program, family programming, Youth Art Month, and more; and the Peggy L. Osher Art Study and Collection Committee Conference Room, which allows significantly closer access to the PMA collection for all.

Peggy’s commitment to the PMA extends well beyond the funds and sites that bear her name. She became a Board member of the museum (then known as the Portland Society of Art) in 1961, starting a relationship that would last for the rest of her life.

She began as the Board Secretary but thrived in many roles over the years. She served as Chairman on the Education Committee, where she strengthened the docent program and school tours program when both were in their infancy. School tours in particular grew considerably under her watch; she said in 2005 that, “If you have something good to offer, people will find a way to come.”

She was on the Architect Selection Committee that helped choose Henry N. Cobb of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners to design the Charles Shipman Payson Building. At the time, some people were surprised that the PMA was able to get an internationally esteemed architect from
I.M. Pei's firm to create an award-winning building in a small city in Maine, but as Peggy said, “Anybody involved in [the Payson Building] and who loves Portland feels nothing is too good for this city.”

Among her most lasting contributions at the museum was her role in founding the Friends of the Collection and serving as its first Co-Chair. The Friends of the Collection has helped fund the acquisition of more than 300 works for the PMA collection, most recently Isamu Noguchi’s Play Sculpture. She also contributed to the PMA collection through her own generosity: in 1991, she and her beloved husband of 67 years, Dr. Harold Osher, gifted their significant collection of works on paper by Winslow Homer to the museum.

Peggy is remembered fondly by everyone at the museum for her giving and open spirit, her pride in Portland and the PMA, and her great passion for art and education. Her contributions to the PMA and Maine community will resonate for generations to come.


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October 31, 2018
Director of Communications

Graeme is a Maine native who, after ten years living in New York and the west coast, decided to come back and set up shop in Portland. In addition to the PMA, he's held positions at GQ, Rogues Gallery, and Might & Main. He lives in Yarmouth, where he spends most of his free time with his daughters, Ramona and Maude.