The SM&NC Collection has grown by community donation since the founding of the Museum in 1936. Today, the Stamford Museum maintains a Permanent Collection of more than 20,000 objects.

The Collection is defined by five categories:

  • 19th and 20th Century European and American Fine Art
  • Indigenous American Art and Artifacts
  • Natural History
  • American History and Culture
  • Agricultural Artifacts

The Collections Committee is chaired by the Museum’s Chief Executive Officer and Board Member, Melissa H. Mulrooney, and includes Board Member Lynn Villency Cohen, community representatives, the Curator of Collections & Exhibitions, and the Assistant Curator.

The Committee meets quarterly to evaluate the Collection and to consider objects for possible acquisition or deaccession. Committee members also guide exhibition programming, special events, and the loan process of Collection objects to other institutions.

For more information on donating objects please contact Maeve Lawler, Curator of Collections & Exhibitions, at 203.977.6543.

19th and 20th Century European and American Fine Art

The Stamford Museum’s collection of fine art includes paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs, and mixed media artworks from the 19th and 20th centuries, with a special emphasis on the years 1900-1965. The Collection’s founding core is the Herman Shulman Collection, formally donated in 1961. This collection of American Social Realists includes works by Guy Pène du Bois, Reginald Marsh, Milton Avery, Raphael Soyer, Robert Gwathmey, Max Weber, and Arnold Blanch.

Our Permanent Collection also includes a significant number of works from several canonical 20th century art historical movements, including Abstract Expressionism, Color Field Painting, Minimalism, and Lyrical Abstraction.  Important works by Edward Avedisian, Walter Darby Bannard, Peter Bradley, Stanley Boxer, Dan Christensen, Werner Drewes, John Grillo, Paul Jenkins, William Ronald, and Peter Young are represented in our collection.

The Museum has an extensive collection of noteworthy Impressionist, Modern, and Post-War prints from artists such as Salvador Dali, Francis Seymour Haden, Marie Laurencin, Lee Krasner, Joan Miró, B.F. Morrow, Larry Poons, Bridget Riley, Victor Vasarely, Andy Warhol, and Andrew Wyeth.

The Museum maintains a significant repository of sculptures, works on paper, and prints by two important sculptors who have a strong connection to Stamford, Gutzon Borglum and Reuben Nakian.

The Museum grounds also include a guided sculpture trail, with outdoor artworks by Gutzon Borglum, Peter Forakis, Robert Goodnough, Lila Katzen, Larry Mohr, Reuben Nakian, Peter Reginato, and more.

The Collection also includes the Dr. Rene Spitz Collection of Miniature Paintings.

Indigenous American Art and Artifacts

The Museum’s collection of Indigenous American Art and Artifacts includes prehistoric, historic, and contemporary objects from across North America. The Museum subscribes to UNESCO's principles related to cultural property and will not purchase or accept gifts that may have been removed illegally from their countries of origin. The Museum adheres to all federal guidelines and the mandates of the Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).

Natural History

The Stamford Museum's natural history collection includes mounted animal specimens, bird study skins, bird eggs and nests, insects, rocks, minerals, fossils, animal models, natural history prints, and extinct species, with a focus on examples from the New England area.

American History and Culture

The Museum’s collecting in this area is illustrative of American history from the 18th Century through the World War II era. Collecting fields include lighting devices, toys, bottles, kitchen utensils, astronomical equipment, antique hardware, and other ephemera.  Important areas within the Collection include the George Lockwood whittling collection, the Smith locomotive, and the Yale & Towne antique lock collection.

Agricultural Artifacts

The Museum’s collection of antique farming implements typical of a small New England farm (c. 1850-1910) includes horse and oxen harnessing equipment, planting and harvesting tools, spinning wheels, food processing tools, and maple sugaring devices.