History

The History of OMAA

Celebrating its artistic heritage and origins in Ogunquit's art colonies, the Ogunquit Museum of American Art engages and educates a diverse audience by acquiring, preserving, exhibiting, and interpreting American art.

The Ogunquit Museum of American Art (OMAA) was founded by Lost Generation artist Henry Strater and opened in 1953. Closely connected to two of America’s earliest art colonies that directly contributed to the roots of American modernism, the OMAA today houses a permanent collection of important paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, and photographs from the late 1800s to the present and is the only museum in Maine devoted exclusively to the exhibition, preservation, and interpretation of American art. A short walk from Perkins Cove, the museum and its three acres of sculpture gardens overlook Narrow Cove and the Atlantic Ocean.

The Ogunquit Museum of American Art is a proud member of Arts Ogunquit.

Henry Strater and the Ogunquit Museum of American Art

Born in Louisville in 1896 to a wealthy Kentucky snuff maker, Henry Strater first came to Ogunquit in 1919 to study at Hamilton Easter Field’s Summer School of Graphic Arts.  Part of the Lost Generation of expatriate American authors and artists who lived in Paris in the interwar period, Strater found success as a painter in France before returning to the U.S. and building a permanent home  in Ogunquit in 1925. In 1951, he purchased an oceanfront spot from Charles Woodbury’s family that generations of painters had come to know as Narrow Cove, and chose architect Charles S. Worley, Jr. to design a museum.

The Museum of Art of Ogunquit, as it was called until 1992, opened in 1953 and the collection grew rapidly, with select works by artists associated with Ogunquit’s famous art colony of the early 20th century and with the art schools of Charles Woodbury and Hamilton Easter Field.

Today, the Ogunquit Museum of American Art houses a permanent collection of important paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints and photographs from the late 1800s to the present and is the only museum in Maine devoted exclusively to the exhibition, preservation and interpretation of American Art.

This map of Perkins Cove is a great way to experience the ‘then’ and ‘now’ of Maine’s first art colonies. During the season, OMAA offers walking tours of the Ogunquit art colony on alternating Totally Tuesdays. Please check the calendar for the schedule of walking tours.

If you have old photographs, letters, books or catalogs pertaining to the art or artists from Ogunquit, please consider donating them to the museum archive, where they will be preserved for future generations to research and enjoy.  For more information, contact Associate Curator + Collections Manager Ruth Greene-McNally at rgreene@nullogunquitmuseum.org.

Gallery
Henry Strater painting en plein air on the Ogunquit shore.
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Contact OMAA

P.O. Box 815, 543 Shore Road
Ogunquit, ME 03907

207.646.4909
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Admission

Members & Children: Free

Seniors & Students: $9

Adults: $10

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Hours

Open daily 10AM-5PM

May 1 through October 31

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