The Newark Museum of Art: New name, same mission

Founded more than a century ago, The Newark Museum of Art features dozens of exhibits and one of the top art collections in the country.

For example, the batakari, a traditional African war shirt worn by chiefs during battle or for ceremonial occasions, is one of many art pieces housed in the Arts of Global Africa Gallery inside the museum, where non-European cultures come alive.

"Deep and rich and robust foundational collections of African art, of Asian art, Tibetan art especially," curator Catherine Evans said, "decorative arts, American art."

The museum's more than 130,000 collection objects and artworks that make it the 12th-largest museum in terms of pieces in the country.

Among the many new exhibits is the Native American collection. In addition to spotlighting little-known Native American artists, the museum brought in members of indigenous communities to design the gallery, ensuring accuracy and inclusivity.

"That is unusual. Usually, there's a long history of non-indigenous people speaking for Native American art and culture," curator Tricia Bloom said. "We're trying to move forward from that."

At 110 years old, the museum recently changed its name from The Newark Museum to The Newark Museum of Art—a move designed to make its identity more clear to the public.

"That's that intersection of the artwork with the human experience and the stories that people bring to that artwork is where the magic happens," Evans said.

And whether it is to see the Tibetan art collection, one of the most vast ever assembled on U.S. soil, or a look at a coat made from duck feathers to keep its wearer warm, there is no better time capsule than in downtown Newark.

"Our mission has always been that art is for everyone and that art is everywhere," Bloom said. "And so we're continuing to follow through on that."

The Newark Museum of Art | 49 Washington Street, Newark, N.J. 07102 | 973-596-6550 |


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