Walters Art Museum
The Walters Art Museum, located in Mount Vernon-Belvedere, Baltimore, Maryland, is a public art museum founded and opened in 1934, with collections created during the mid-19th Century. The Museum's collection was amassed substantially by major American art and sculpture collectors, a father and son: William Thompson Walters (William T. Walters), (1819–1894), who began serious collecting when he moved to Paris as a nominal Southern/Confederate sympathizer at the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861; and Henry Walters (1848–1931), who refined the collection and made arrangements for the construction of a later landmark building to rehouse it. After allowing the Baltimore public to occasionally view his father's and his growing added collections at his West Mount Vernon Place townhouse/mansion during the late 1800s, he arranged for an elaborate stone palazzo-styled structure built for that purpose in 1905-1909, which he then occasionally opened its doors for citizens to tour the rapidly growing collections. Located across the back alley, a block south of the Walters mansion on West Monument Street/Mount Vernon Place, on the northwest corner of North Charles Street at West Centre Street, (at South Washington Place).The mansion and Gallery were also just south and west of the landmark Washington Monument in the tomey Mount Vernon-Belvedere neighborhood, just north of the downtown business district and northeast of Cathedral Hill. Upon his 1931 death, Henry Walters bequeathed the entire collection of then more than 22,000 works, the original Charles Street Gallery building, and his adjacent townhouse/mansion just across the alley to the north on West Mount Vernon Place to the City of Baltimore, “for the benefit of the public.” The collection, first known for seventy years as the ""Walters Art Gallery"", includes masterworks of ancient Egypt, Greek sculpture and Roman sarcophagi, medieval ivories, illuminated manuscripts, Renaissance bronzes, Old Master European and 19th Century paintings, Chinese ceramics and bronzes, Art Deco jewelry, and ancient Near East, Mesopotamian, or ancient Middle East items.In 2000, ""The Walters Art Gallery"" changed its long-time title to ""The Walters Art Museum"" to reflect its image as a large public institution (held in trust by the City, with substantial contributions from surrounding suburban counties and the State of Maryland grants) and eliminate confusion among some of the increasing out-of-state visitors, that the Gallery was a private institution or a place to auction and purchase art. The following year, ""The Walters"" (as it is often known in the City) reopened its largest original main building of 1909 facing Charles Street after a dramatic three-year physical renovation and replacement of internal utilities and infrastructure. The Walters Art Museum is where the Archimedes Palimpsest is on loan from a private collector for conservation and spectral imaging studies.Starting on October 1, 2006, the museum began having free admission year-round as a result of substantial grants given by Baltimore City and the surrounding suburban Baltimore County arts agencies and authorities. In 2012, ""The Walters"" released nearly 20,000 of its own images of its collections on a Creative Commons license, and collaborated in their upload to the world-wide web and the internet on Wikimedia Commons. This was one of the largest and most comprehensive such releases made by any museum.