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Permanent Galleries

Casts of the Ancient World

Cast gallery ground level view
Casts of the Ancient World showcases one of the most complete and comprehensive collections of plaster casts found in the United States. The collection was installed and unveiled in November of 1888 when Slater Memorial Museum opened to the public. Museum benefactor William Albert Slater and NFA Head of School Dr. Robert Porter Keep enlisted Boston Museum of Fine Arts Curator Edward Robinson to select original sculptures found in museums across the world to be duplicated. 227 full-size casts and medallions were created for Slater Museum including copies of world-renowned works of art such as Venus de Milo, Nike of Samothrace, and more. Master plasterer, Giovanni Luchini assembled each cast by hand and also fabricated their pedestals. For over 100 years, the collection has stood as a premiere teaching collection for the museum and NFA.
To view the online cast gallery, click here.

The Art of Africa

A view of the African art gallery in Slater Memorial Museum

Spanning multiple countries throughout the African continent, Slater Museum’s collection of African Art is comprised of functional items, masks, and cultural material showcasing the diversity and beauty of three-dimensional objects and sculpture. Also on view is an extension of the museum’s “Casts of the Ancient World” exhibit featuring plaster casts of Africa and the Middle East.

The Norwich Masterpieces

Dr. Lewis & Mrs. Grace Sears Gallery wall detail panel
Slater Museum’s American collection of 19th century paintings and sculpture contains the largest collections of artwork done by Norwich artists John Denison Crocker and Alexander Hamilton Emmons, two of the region’s most prominent landscape and portrait artists. On view in the Dr. Lewis and Grace Sears’ Gallery, this exhibition showcases some of the best examples of this collection and documents how Norwich underswent its change from an agrarian to an industrial community during the American Gilded Age.

The Colors of Connecticut Artists

A view of the Connecticut Artist's Gallery in Slater Memorial Museum
From historical pieces, to contemporary works, come and experience an eclectic mix of some of the region’s most notable artists and see how artists use color to achieve different effects in paintings and prints. Here you can learn how color can create shape, depth, form, and feeling. A highlight of this show is an original printing press used by NFA Art School Director Ozias Dodge and his original color etchings he created using an etching process he patented over 100 years ago!

USS Confederacy: Connecticut’s Continental Frigate

Tall Ships: Building a Work of Art gallery
Discover the incredible story of a ship, named after America’s first official form of government built on the shores of the Thames River in Norwich. As among the biggest warships ever built during the American Revolution, come and learn about this once forgotten ship as well as the story of its builders, sailors, and see what kinds of ships were built in Norwich during the 18th century.

Norwich Made

Edward & Mary Lord Foundation Gallery view

From its founding in 1659 and throughout the Industrial Revolution, Norwich served as a hub of manufacturing and production of materials from textiles, to firearms, clocks, and more. This exhibition showcases pieces from the permanent collection dating back to the early 18th century and through the late 19th century that highlight several industries that drove the Norwich economy throughout this time period.

The Scholar and the Samurai: Compositions from East Asia

Emily Noyes Vanderpoel Gallery view

In 1935, Emily Noyes Vanderpoel beqeated her entire collection of East Asian arfiacts to Slater Museum - in total, nearly 1,000 pieces were donated, expanding the museum’s permanent collection extensively. Among this collection is a comprehensive collection of prints and works on paper dating back to China’s Qing Dynasty and Japan’s Edo Period. Of particular interest are prints that showcase Japanese Samurai culture as well as China’s Scholar-Official classes of the 19th century. Works by some of Japan and China’s most famous artists including Kunisada are featured in this gallery.

The Ellis Walter Ruley Collection: A Norwich Artist Brought to Light

Ellis Walter Ruley Gallery view

The Ellis Walter Ruley Collection represents a new collecting and interpretive endeavor for Slater Memorial Museum. This exhibition draws upon the special legacy of Norwich African American artist Ellis Ruley, and uncovers his journey from a construction worker, to a nationally-acclaimed artist of color. Born in Norwich in 1882 to formerly-enslaved parents, Joshua Ruley and Eudora Robinson, Ellis Ruley's story is one of humble beginnings and breaking barriers. He lived his entire life in Norwich, and little evidence suggests that he traveled far beyond his immediate surroundings, yet his career as an artist is one of intrigue and wonder. Come and experience the incredible story of this Norwich artist and his impact on the regional community.