Washington County Museum of Fine Arts Hosts Invite Congress to Visit Their Museum
HAGERSTOWN, Maryland – To connect members of Congress with their state museums, the American Alliance of Museums encourages its members every August to Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum.
The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts welcomed three congressional representatives to the Hagerstown museum last month: Nan Mann, Western Maryland regional director for U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md), Robin Summerfield, field representative for U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Annaston Cree, constituent service representative for Congressman David Trone (D-Md., sixth district).
This year’s Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum Week was held Aug. 14-18. Due to scheduling, the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts hosted the visits throughout the month, giving each representative a more personal experience.
Each representative was given a tour of the exhibitions “Treasures of State: Maryland’s Art Collection” and “Landscapes & Legends of Norway: William Singer & His Contemporaries,” as well as the special display of work by fashion designer and Frederick native Claire McCardell.
When Nann visited on Aug. 2, Daniel Fulco, Agnita M. Stine Schreiber Curator, and Kellie Mele, director of education, discussed the museum’s expansion project.
Mele also discussed programs that reach out into the community, such as the Adaptive Art for Elementary School Students with Special Needs and the museum’s Rural PA Outreach Artist in Residence Program. The Outreach Artist program was piloted by the museum in early 2022 with Northern Bedford County (Pa.) High School. The program brings the arts to rural schools that have difficulty developing or staffing an arts curriculum.
On Aug. 15, Fulco and Mele, as well as Elizabeth Smith, director of development, met with Summerfield. They also discussed the renovation and expansion of the museum, new community programming like Garden Night at the Museum, a bring-your-own-picnic night featuring evening hours and live music. Longstanding and treasured programming such as the Saturday Morning Youth Program, were also highlighted. The free Saturday Morning Youth Program has been introducing elementary school children to the museum’s collection and art-making since 1933.
Summerfield heard about upcoming exhibitions such as the longstanding and always anticipated Washington County Public Schools Art Exhibition that takes place every spring. Special exhibitions planned for upcoming months also include “Art, Fashion, Symbol & Statement: Tattooing in America, 1960s to Today,” and the “Cumberland Valley Artists” Exhibition, which are both scheduled to open in June.
On Aug. 31, Cree was given a tour led by Executive Director Sarah Hall, along with Mele and Smith. In addition to the exhibitions, Hall walked Cree through the museum to show the museum’s original footprint, where the building has expanded over the years, and which areas will be part of the future expansion project.
Cree, who had toured the Key Street property during an earlier visit, was interested in hearing more about the museum’s expansion and use of the new buildings will allow the museum to better serve the needs of the community and continue our efforts to make art accessible to all.
Each August the Invite Congress to Visit Your Museum program provides an opportunity for the museum to connect with its local representatives and update them on plans and activities while highlighting projects that have received or are worthy of national funding.