In 1988, with the support of many citizens from across the region, the James A. Michener Art Museum opened as an independent, nonprofit cultural institution dedicated to preserving, interpreting, and exhibiting the art and cultural heritage of Bucks County.
Named for the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and supporter of the arts, the Museum is housed in the repurposed 1884 Bucks County Jail. The Museum has evolved from a modest facility with a locally derived mission to an accredited world class-facility with a broad vision. Changing exhibitions, ranging from international touring shows to regionally focused exhibitions, attract annually more than 135,000 visitors from around the world.
Museum space is also available for private events. Surrounded by historic prison walls, the Patricia D. Pfundt Sculpture Garden and terraces, and a landscaped courtyard, the Michener ecompasses 40,000 square feet of public space that includes seminar and conference facilities, a Museum shop and cafe, an art research library, and gallery space. The dynamic glass-walled Edgar N. Putnam Event Pavilion provides a dramatic space for special events and celebrations, weddings, conferences, and Museum programs.
Throughout the year, the Michener hosts a wide range of art-based programs open to the public, including lectures, artists conversations, gallery talks, artist studio tours, dance performances, jazz performances, Ladies Nights Out, family-themed activities, and other events.
The Michener offers art classes for children (starting in pre-kindergarten) and adults. Classes include instruction in drawing, painting, sculpting, and printmaking as well as programs designed to enhance artistic awareness an inclination in children and adults alike. Additionally, the Museum welcomes thousands of school students each year through the School Visit Program which, through generous support of The Rose Group, includes free admission for pre-booked school groups (pre-kindergarten through 12th grade).