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Walters Art Gallery

Walters Art Gallery, located in Baltimore, Maryland, showcases privately assembled collections of art from the third millennium B.C. to the early 20th century. Internationally renowned for its collections, this gallery was amassed substantially by two men, William and Henry Walters. Since its opening, the museum has been a national leader in scholarship, conservation, and education. The collection of art works was started by William Thompson Walters, and was later bequeathed to his son, Henry. In 1909, Henry transformed all the collections into a palazzo and opened it to the public. Upon his death, the building and its contents were left to the mayor and city council of Baltimore. The present structure, Walters Art Museum, opened its doors for the first time as a public institution in November 1934. Currently, the museum has the privilege of housing its vast collection in three distinct, but conjoined buildings - The Centre Street Building, The Charles Street Building, and Hackerman House. The first building - the largest of the museum's three buildings - was designed in the Brutalist style by Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson, and Abbott, and opened in 1974. The second structure is the Henry Walters' original “Art Gallery”, which was built between 1904 and 1909 and was modeled after Italian Renaissance and Baroque palace designs. The third building, which holds the collection of Asian art, was opened in 1991. A major three-year renovation project was started in 1998, which resulted in an extensive transformation of the largest of the museum's three buildings, providing 39 newly configured and refurbished galleries, a new four-story glass entryway, opening dramatically onto the street, an array of expanded public spaces, and technological upgrades. The museum, with nearly 22,000 works of art, offers an extraordinary survey of 55 centuries. The collection demonstrates an overview of world art from pre-dynastic Egypt to 20th-century Europe. Among its thousands of treasures, the museum holds one of the finest collections of medieval ivories, Art Deco jewelry, enamels, and bronzes in the country, Greek sculpture and Roman sarcophagi, and a spectacular reserve of illuminated manuscripts and rare books. Other eye-catching exhibits are the collection of French paintings and its holdings of Renaissance and Asian Art. Walters Art Gallery arranges a variety of special exhibitions year-round. It also provides facilities for smaller dinners, weddings, receptions, and business meetings. The museum store has a wide range of offerings including publications, figurines, children's items, Walters’ products, posters, and prints, as well as Asian-inspired gifts.