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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


From Encyclopedia Dubuque
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DUBUQUE MUSEUM OF ART. The current Dubuque Museum of Art began in 1874 as the Dubuque Art Association, the oldest cultural agency in Iowa, organized by a progressive group of community leaders who opened Association membership to the public and collected subscriber’s fees to purchase art. The Association’s visibility was increased by holding public art exhibitions of the purchased art in a variety of locations throughout the city. Through admission charged at these events additional purchases were made for the Association’s collection. A listing of the Association’s founding subscribers has not survived, however the following individuals helped shape its growth in the early to mid 20th century: Kate VAN DUZEE, Louise Herron HALLIBURTON, Adrian Dornbush, Dorothy Bechtel Rossiter, and Grant Wood.

Dubuque Art Association changed to the Dubuque Museum of Art in 1996. Over the years, this agency was located in various private homes in Dubuque through 1902, the CARNEGIE-STOUT PUBLIC LIBRARY, The Barn (Slattery Center) and the Old County Jail on 8th Street; 701 Locust Street. The Association’s first full time Director was hired in 1987. In 1999 the Museum opened its current location on the corner of 7th and Locust Streets.

The Dubuque Museum of Art is fortunate to have a significant collection of early paintings by Iowa Regionalist Grant Wood, as well as a complete set of his lithographs, a set of decorative doors, two Lilies of the Alley assemblages and the oil paintings, Appraisal and Victorian Survival, on long term loan from the Carnegie-Stout Public Library. Through this partnership between the Museum and the Library Also on loan from the Library is the complete portfolio of photogravures by Edward S. Curtis, pioneering photographer of the Native American peoples of the Western United States. The Museum also has the complete collection of Illinois artist/illustrator Arthur Geisert’s etchings completed for his series of children’s books.

The Museum’s current staff includes four full-time and three part-time employees; its Board of Trustees includes nineteen individuals living in Dubuque and in a twenty mile regional area. Accredited by the American Association of Museums in 2005, the Museum strives to be responsive to artists within the region as well as to the general community through a variety of temporary exhibitions on a year-round schedule, gallery tours, outreach programs, and a variety of educational student classes and parent/child initiatives.