WCMA Awarded Prestigious Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services
Thanks to a grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) will integrate its archives of American artist brothers Maurice and Charles Prendergast, into the museum’s permanent collection. The three-year project will also include digitally photographing the entire Prendergast collection of fine art and archives, including paintings, works on paper, hand-carved frames, sketchbooks, decorative arts, letters, documents, ephemera, and carving tools. The project will create new database records and link new high-resolution images to the museum’s collection management system. The new digital images and records will be made available to the public via the museum’s web site and a virtual research center, the Prendergast Archive and Study Center.
WCMA is home to the world’s largest repository of the work of Maurice and Charles Prendergast. This collection, as well as the family archives, came to the museum from Charles’s widow, Eugénie Prendergast, in the years 1983 to 1995 for research and educational purposes. The collection of over 450 works by Maurice (1858-1924) and Charles (1863-1948) Prendergast is the largest in any museum and includes watercolors, oils, sketchbooks, and frames. The museum’s Prendergast holdings and archives of documents relating to the lives and careers of the brothers make WCMA a center for scholarship on the Prendergasts and their contemporaries.
IMLS has awarded WCMA one of the 2011 Museums for America Grants to support the museum in its efforts to raise the profile of and provide visibility for the Prendergast artworks and archives. Museums for America is the Institute’s largest grant program for museums, supporting projects and ongoing activities that build museums’ capacity to serve their communities.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit www.imls.gov.
Above: Maurice Brazil Prendergast (American, 1858-1924); Study St. Malo, No. 32, ca. 1907; oil on panel; Williams College Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. Charles Prendergast. (91.18.26)