The young museum’s collecting direction evolved dramatically during its first decade of operation, largely due to the supporting guidance of Carter’s daughter, Ruth Carter Stevenson (b. 1923), and the astute vision of Mitchell A. Wilder (1913–1979), the museum’s first director. Six years after the museum opened, Wilder announced that the Amon Carter’s collecting would “no longer be limited to western art, [for] to understand the West, the East must also be studied.”
This broader collecting philosophy has, over the decades, established the museum as one of the premier museums of American art in the country, with more than 250,000 objects. Despite two expansions to the facility, in 1964 and 1977, the building’s physical spaces did not keep pace with this collection growth or that of the museum’s outreach activities and library, which today houses some 55,000 books. In 2001, Johnson designed an expansion for his monument to Amon G. Carter, increasing the building’s size fourfold.
Today a dozen exhibitions each year, from both the permanent collection and from other premier art institutions, entice visitors from around the world to visit the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, still free and open to the public. New acquisitions grace the gallery walls each year, and lecture series, extended education opportunities, films, family events, and interactive tours are just part of the array of free programming the museum offers.
50th Anniversary Exhibition Schedule
The First Fifty Years
Nature Bound: Illustrated Botanical Books
The Hudson River School: Nature and the American Vision
The Allure of Paper: Drawings and Watercolors from the Collection
John Marin: Modernism at Midcentury