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Chrysler Museum of Art
Established 1933
Location 1 Memorial Place, Norfolk, Virginia
Type Art museum
Visitors 200,000

The Chrysler Museum of Art is an art museum on the border between downtown and the Ghent district of Norfolk, Virginia. The museum was founded in 1933 as the Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences. In 1971, automotive heir, Walter P. Chrysler Jr. (whose wife, Jean Outland Chrysler, was a native of Norfolk), donated most of his extensive collection to the museum. This single gift significantly expanded the museum's collection, making it one of the major art museums in the Southeastern United States. From 1958 to 1971, the Chrysler Museum of Art was a smaller museum consisting solely of Chrysler's personal collection and housed in the historic Center Methodist Church in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Today's museum sits on a small body of water known as The Hague.

Expansion and renovation

The museum's main building underwent expansion and renovation and reopened on May 10, 2014. During the renovation, the Glass Studio and the Moses Myers House remained open and art was displayed at venues throughout the community. The museum's grand reopening included the Rubber Duck floating sculpture from May 17–26, 2014. The museum originally had a courtyard, but during renovations in the 1980s, the courtyard was enclosed, creating Huber Court. Concerts and events are held in Huber Court.


The New York Times described the Chrysler collection as "one any museum in the world would kill for." Comprising over 30,000 objects, the collection spans over 5,000 years of world history. American and European paintings and sculpture from the Middle Ages to the present day form the core of the collection.

The museum's most significant holdings include works by Tintoretto, Veronese, Peter Paul Rubens, Diego Velázquez, Salvator Rosa, Gianlorenzo Bernini, John Singleton Copley, Thomas Cole, Eugène Delacroix, Édouard Manet, Paul Cézanne, Gustave Doré, Albert Bierstadt, Auguste Rodin, Mary Cassatt, Paul Gauguin, Georges Rouault, Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, Edward Hopper, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Richard Diebenkorn, Karen LaMonte and Franz Kline.

The Chrysler Museum is home to the final sculpture of the Baroque master Gianlorenzo Bernini, a marble bust of Jesus Christ created as a gift for the artist's benefactor, Queen Christina of Sweden. The Museum also houses one of the world's greatest collections of glass (including outstanding works by Louis Comfort Tiffany), distinguished holdings in the decorative arts, and a fine and growing collection of photography. The arts of the ancient world, Asia, Africa, and Pre-Columbian America (particularly Maya ceramics) are also well represented.

Programs and exhibitions

The Chrysler Museum provides guided tours, lectures, films, concerts, family days, travel programs, and publications. Each year, over 100 Volunteer Docents welcome over 60,000 students from Hampton Roads' schools for tours at the museum.

The Chrysler displays its permanent collection, and several changing exhibitions including works from around the globe. Recent offerings include Rembrandt's Etchings: The Embrace and Darkness of Light, From Goya to Sorolla: Masterpieces from The Hispanic Society of America, To Conserve a Legacy: American Art from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Rodin: Sculpture from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collection and American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell.

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

The Jean Outland Chrysler Library is one of the largest art libraries in the South. The collection covers the entire history of world art, with special emphasis on material relevant to the Chrysler's permanent collection. The library subscribes to several hundred art-related journals, has an extensive collection of current and historical auction catalogues, and exchanges publications with 400 art museums around the world.

The library is named in honor of Jean Outland Chrysler, wife of the late Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., who played a leading role in its formation and expansion. The collection is based on the original holdings of the Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences library. In 1977, the library of the London art dealer M. Knoedler & Co. was purchased, adding major historical reference volumes, periodicals, and rare annotated sales catalogues. The library also houses the museum's archives, which includes Mark Twain's original typescript of a speech he delivered at the Jamestown Tricentennial Exposition of 1907, and a collection of papers from the Moses Myers family provides unique insights into the life of an important Tidewater merchant during the United States' early history.

The Jean Outland Chrysler Library moved from the Chrysler Museum of Art into a new art building on Old Dominion University campus in 2014.

Historic houses

In addition to its main building in downtown Norfolk, the Chrysler Museum of Art administers two important historic houses.

Moses Myers House

Moses Myers House
Moses Myers House.JPG
Chrysler Museum of Art is located in Virginia
Chrysler Museum of Art
Location in Virginia
Chrysler Museum of Art is located in the United States
Chrysler Museum of Art
Location in the United States
Location SW corner of E. Freemason and N. Bank Sts., Norfolk, Virginia
Area 9.9 acres (4.0 ha)
Built 1792 (1792), 1796
Architect Latrobe, Benjamin H.
Architectural style Federal
NRHP reference No. 70000874
Significant dates
Added to NRHP February 16, 1970

The Moses Myers House in downtown Norfolk is an example of Federal period architecture and retains 70 percent of its original contents. The house and its furnishings allow visitors to experience first-hand the life of a prosperous Jewish merchant and his family during the early 19th century. Moses Myers moved to Norfolk in 1787 with his wife Eliza. Five years later, he purchased a large lot where he erected a home for his family. Today the house contains an important collection of American, English and French furniture, glass, silver, ceramics, and portraits by Gilbert Stuart, Thomas Sully, and John Wesley Jarvis. All were commissioned or acquired by members of the Myers family.

The house was built about 1792 and is a two-story, Federal style brick townhouse. Its facade features a pedimented gable end roof and a small aedicula type portico surrounding the front door. In 1796, a two-story octagonal ended wing attributed to Benjamin H. Latrobe was added to the rear of the house to contain a large dining room. Also on the rear are a two-story service wing and an attached two-story kitchen. A historic renovation of the house occurred in 1906 in anticipation of the Jamestown Exposition. The house was converted to a house museum in 1931.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970, with an amendment made in 2009.

Norfolk History Museum at the Willoughby-Baylor House

The Norfolk History Museum at the Willoughby-Baylor House at the newly refurbished Willoughby-Baylor House (ca. 1794) illuminates the history of the region by providing thematic offerings and surveys including the decorative arts of Norfolk, the story of Norfolk at stages in its history as an international port and maritime center, and the area's naval and military heritage.

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