Art and culture have always played an important role in Connecticut’s long and diverse history. The nation’s first municipal museum, the Wadsworth Atheneum, clearly demonstrates that commitment. David Wadsworth founded the museum in 1842. The original building (the first of five) was designed in Gothic Revival architecture. The Atheneum was opened to the public in 1844 with an early collection of portraits, sculpture, American landscape scenes, and historical paintings. The works were done by prominent artists of the time, and also by friends of Wadsworth. Generous donations from Elizabeth Colt (widow of Samuel Colt) and J. Pierpont Morgan, for example, helped to purchase art that was added to the collection. Today the Wadsworth Atheneum is considered one of the premier art institutions in the United States.
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