Our Mission & History
Established in 1931 by Anna Brugh Singer and her husband William H. Singer, Jr., the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts (WCMFA) has been recognized as one of the finest small museums in the United States. Its mission is to collect, preserve, interpret, and exhibit art of lasting quality for the citizens of Hagerstown, Washington County, and the surrounding region. The mission is implemented through the development, interpretation, and care of art collections; creation of original and educational exhibitions; and presentation of interpretive lectures, concerts, films, art instruction, and other programs to ensure that visitors gain a better appreciation and understanding of the fine arts.
The presentation and care of art collections and associated interpretive activities requires the maintenance of a specialized and architecturally significant building and grounds. The WCMFA’s historic building is protected by an Easement of the Maryland Historic Trust.
Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (formerly American Association of Museums) since 1976, the Museum’s collection includes over 7,000 works of art. The Museum keeps with the tastes of its founders, actively collects works of art in the fields of American art, world cultures, and art of the region.
The generosity of the Singers and that of subsequent collectors has resulted in a remarkable collection with strengths in American Art, including works by the Peale family, Benjamin West, Frederic Church, Thomas Moran, John Frederick Kensett, William Merritt Chase, Wayland Bartlett, Childe Hassam, and Norman Rockwell. The opportunity for the public to encounter highly significant works of art in a beautiful setting, and with safety and security are important values of the Museum.
The WCMFA has an enduring commitment to arts education and to the support of regional artists. The Museum regularly offers studio art courses, art historical lectures, concerts, and exhibitions from its permanent collection and traveling exhibitions.
To learn more about the WCMFA history, visit Western Maryland’s Historical Library.