LEGACY OF THE
 SOUTHWEST MISSOURI MUSEUM ASSOCIATES

 
1926 Organized by Miss Deborah D. Weisel as the Art Study Club with seven original members.

1927 Art Study Club sponsored their first exhibition and purchased a painting with public contributions: “ The King” by Mary Butler.

1928 Incorporated as Springfield Art Museum with museum quarters located on 2nd floor of the Public Library.

1929 Sponsored the First Annual Exhibition to exhibit work of Ozark artists.

1937: A bill for city support was defeated by Springfield voters; however, space was given for an enlarged museum in the City Hall Building.

1940: Miss Weisel began circulating exhibits with work selected from Ozark shows. The corporation continued to sponsor exhibits, art school instruction, art study groups, lectures and the collection of historical objects of Ozark tradition.

1943: Building Fund Drive raised record pledges.

1946: January 30th the City Council voted a special levy to include support of the Art Museum and a nine-member board was appointed.

1947: The corporation deeded the museum and its properties to the City of Springfield. It reorganized to be known as the Southwest Missouri Museum Associates, Inc. Better known as SMMA

1950: Established a Memorial Fund for the Museum’s founder, Miss Deborah D. Weisel to build The Deborah D. Weisel Memorial Gallery in the new museum building with contributions from her family with the sale of her own paintings.

1958: Construction of the new museum was began. SMMA presented a substantial financial gift to the mayor as their contribution to the construction of the building.

1960: Money was given to the Museum to build a pool and pave the patio west of the foyer.

1961: The patio was completed, planted and furnished with SMMA funds. The pool and waterfall were gifts of the Phelps Grove Garden Club. Mrs. S.F. Freeman designed the fountain.

1962: The first Purchase Award from the first Watercolor USA competition was donated to the museum collections.

1971: Vincent Price was featured as the Speaker for the Watercolor USA banquet and attended the reception.

1972: The first four SMMA Life Memberships were purchased and added to the Building Fund.

1973: The SMMA Board and Museum Board decided to build the new auditorium.

1974: City Council Bill 74.95 commended SMMA for their accomplishment in developing the Museum.

1975: The opening of the Springfield Art Museum Auditorium featured an address by Dr. Thomas Hoving, Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

1980: The main project this year was the paving and lighting of the west parking lot of the Art Museum. With the Springfield Sesquicentennial, the SMMA Auditorium was dedicated and presented to the City of Springfield.

1984: Renovated galleries were opened with SMMA contributions matched by the Leona C. Kelley Bequest.

1991: The Project Fund pledged a major contribution toward the construction of the Jeannette L. Musgrave Wing with groundbreaking scheduled for 1994.

1993: SMMA was awarded the Ozzie by the Springfield Arts Council for their contributions to the arts.

1997: SMMA with their current membership constitutes the single largest organization dedicated to the cultural growth of Southwest Missouri.

2001: Mrs. Ruth Sigmon, in memory of her parents, Mr. & Mrs. Walter Pettit, established an SMMA Endowment Fund through the Community Foundation's Partnering Program.

2003: SMMA was honored to celebrate our 75th anniversary with a Special Exhibit of the paintings purchased by our group for the museum.

2008: SMMA contributed $200,000.00 toward the building of the new wing, a new Museum Shop and new SMMA office.

SMMA has a rich heritage and continues to contribute to the growth of the Springfield At Museum.
 

Miss Deborah Weisel came to Springfield, MO in 1921 to teach Fine Arts at Springfield State Teachers College, now MSU. She organized an art study club with a broad and clear vision to share the arts and artworks with the region with the ultimate goal of establishing an art museum.  Her legacy is honored with a gallery that bears her name in the Springfield Art Museum.

Before the Springfield Art Museum at 1111 East Brookside was built, several municipal buildings were used to house and exhibit the collection including the old City Hall once called the Federal Building.

           
The original art museum was once in the Springfield Public Library.
 

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Office Hours
Tuesday Through Friday
9:00 A.M. to 3:00 P. M.
Phone: 417-837-5700 Extension #216
Fax: 417-837-5704 (Attention SMMA)