Walters Art Museum
The Walters Art Museum has long celebrated the generosity and artistic tastes of founders William T. Walters and his son, Henry, industrialists who settled in Baltimore and amassed a world-class art collection. But in the wake of the national reckoning around social and racial justice, the city museum has broadened its founders’ biographies to include their support for the Confederacy and connect their wealth to the South’s legacy of slavery.
The expanded history can be found on the museum’s website and is included in the installation “Building the Collection: 19th-Century European and American Art.” It will be on view when the museum reopens Wednesday after being closed since November because of covid-19.
The new history is part of a broader effort to increase diversity, equity and inclusion, according to executive director Julia Marciari-Alexander. Being transparent about the museum’s past, said Marciari-Alexander, will help it build relationships going forward. The majority of Baltimore residents are Black, and the museum needs to be transparent about the work it is doing to change, she added.
“You have to acknowledge something before you address the trauma it has created,” Marciari-Alexander said.
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