Sunday, September 25, 2022

Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute

The institute is named after three generations of the Munson family. Alfred  and Elizabeth Munson's daughter Helen married James Watson Williams, and their daughters married brothers Frederick and Thomas Proctor hence - Munson-Williams-Proctor. Alfred  and Elizabeth Munson accumulated a large fortune from interests in manufacturing, coalmines, canal development, and railroad and steamboat transportation which they willed to their children. Helen Munson Williams wisely invested her inheritance and was able to pursue her passion for art. Her art collection was passed to her daughters who, along with their husbands, enjoyed collecting too. The two couples didn't have children to inherit the large collection of paintings, prints and decorative furnishings so they drew up plans for an artistic, musical, and social center to open to the public after all family members had died.
Rachel and Frederick Proctor's home, Fountain Elms, was the original exhibit area but as the institute grew additional space was needed. The Johnson building, which houses the main galleries, was opened in 1960 and an education wing, built in 1995, connects the two buildings. We entered through the Johnson building and almost missed the long hallway to Fountain Elms. This is a relatively small museum with four or five galleries in the Johnson building. Fountain Elms has been renovated as a Victorian house museum. The rooms are overly decorated with clashing designs and colors. Fountain Elms also has displays of the family's collections and historic information on all of the family members.

The museum is accessible. Each building has three floor with elevators to access them. The elevator control panels are located high on the walls so some wheelchair users will have difficulty reaching the buttons.
The parking lot is large enough for RVs if parked across the spaces, The lot has a good slope so if you have a short vehicle park in the accessible parking which is level and close to the entrance. Museum  43.09793, -75.2405


  1. What a fascinating find this is! Those purple chairs -- yikes! But a fun place to walk/roll through.

    1. I'm glad we didn't miss seeing the house. It was definitely unusual. :D