Founded in 1896, the Worcester Art Museum’s (WAM) mission is to “connect people, communities, and cultures through the experience of art.” WAM actively pursues this mission by sharing and caring for its distinguished encyclopedic collection, and through special exhibitions and events, innovative programming, university and community partnerships, and art classes and workshops.
WAM’s collection of nearly 38,000 objects contains superlative examples representing 51 centuries of creative spirit and cultural heritage, including some of the finest Roman mosaics in the U.S., world-renowned works of European and American art, and 3,500 Japanese prints documenting the entire history of printmaking in Japan. Since acquiring the Higgins Armory collection in 2013, WAM is now home to the second-largest collection of arms and armor in the Americas, next only to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. WAM was the first museum in the world to purchase a Monet painting of water lilies (1910) and a painting by Gauguin (1921). It was also one of the first American museums to exhibit photography as fine art (1904), as well as to install an entire work of architecture – a 12th-century Romanesque chapter house – as a permanent exhibit.