Biggs Museum of American Art – Dover, Delaware


Biggs Museum of American Art - Dover, Delaware.jpgBiggs Museum of American Art – Dover, Delaware

If you are a fan of American fine and decorative art you will want to visit this museum and see the collection of Sewell C. Biggs.  The collection represents artisans throughout the Mid-Atlantic region with an emphasis on art forms made and used in Delaware and the Delaware Valley.

There is only one comprehensive representation of American paintings collection on the Delmarva Peninsula with highlights by the Peale family. Titian Peale was a member of the Long Expedition from Pittsburg to Rocky Mountains organized to explore the country between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains, starting with the Missouri River and moving on. 

Titan Peale collected several thousand insects, mostly new; 500 species of plants, many new, 122 sketches he drew during this exploration.  Peale joined many explorations and drew sketches and collected a wide range of items.  They were first in the Peale Museum with some going to the Philadelphia Museum.

In the 1840’s the Philadelphia Museum failed and the collections of the museum sold to P.T. Barnum at auction.

From 1843 to 1848 Peale worked on a text and drawings for vol. 8 of Wilkes Expedition reports.  Mannalia and Ornithology.

From 1848 – 73 he worked on a number of oil paintings based on his explorations (in particular, the Long Expedition.)  He continued to work on varied projects of writing and drawing and painting throughout his life.

Albert Bierstadt collection is also in the museum.  He was likely the most famous and financially successful late 19th century painter of American western landscape art.  He created grandiose, dramatic scenes of the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevadas that lured many people to visit those places.  He was also one of the first artists to use a camera to record landscape views.

Gilbert Stuarts’ work is also on display.  He was the most successful portraitist of the early American republic, known for his paintings of some of the most famous men and women of his time.

There is the works of Childe Hassam on display too, he was an Impressionist painter living from 1859 – 1935.

You will also be able to enjoy a variety of art forms such as sculptures by Hiram Powers and images by Brandywine School illustrator, Frank E. Schoonover.

You can see examples of furniture by early American cabinetmakers such as the Javier family of Odessa, and William Savery of Philadelphia.

The museum is also in possession of one of the finest collections of regional silver in the country.

The Museum offers changing exhibitions throughout the year relating to historical and contemporary art topics.  The galleries are more intimate than many galleries where you will experience the unexpected ad personal experience with the collection.

The museum has public educational programs relating to art for adults and children as well as special events to bring the wonderful world of art to everyone.

Location: 406 Federal St., Dover, Delaware 19901

Phone: 302-674-2111

Hours: Wednesday – Friday 10 – 4; Saturday 9 – 5 and Sunday 1:30 – 4:30.  Open Most State holidays, 9 – 5.

Admission: FREE

Directions: located in historic downtown Dover in the Legislative Mall, ear US 13 and US Route 1.  The Museum is located on the second and third floors of the Delaware Visitor’s Center.  The Museum is an easy drive with FREE parking.



  1. Alexus R. says:

    I am very excited to go on a field trip to see your museum. I am in 6th grade, and i will be visiting you Wednesday March 25, 2009! I can not wait. I LOVE art, and I would love to get some ideas from the paintings. (But of coarse not doing the same painting. Just to see what kind of art there is.) I would love to see what the artists created. I would love to be one when I grow up.

    -The future artist :)

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