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One of the must-see attractions on any visit to Youngstown, Ohio, is the world-renowned Butler Institute of American Art.

Known worldwide as "America's Museum," The Butler is the first museum dedicated to works created solely by American artists and is celebrating its 100th year in 2019, with special exhibits, activities, and events.

Founded by Youngstown industrialist Joseph G. Butler Jr. to house his extensive collection of American Art, The Butler opened to the public in October 1919. It was founded pro bono publico (for the public good) and has maintained its free admission policy throughout its history.

The Butler's permanent collection—which now exceeds 20,000 individual pieces in all media, covering four centuries of work—is a true reflection of America's history, arranged in chronological order.

Browsing through the museum's marbled halls, you'll find important paintings by Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sargent, Edward Hopper and William Merritt Chase, to name a few. You will also find Snap the Whip by Winslow Homer, the centerpiece of the museum's 19th-century holdings. This painting of children playing outside of a one-room schoolhouse is known as "America's Mona Lisa." All are part of the museum's impressive collection of realist portraits, impressionist pieces and paintings of the American West.

Explore the Beecher Center, which features new media and electronic art utilizing computer, holography, lasers, and other digital mediums. In contrast to these modern pieces, when you cross the glass skywalk to Butler North, students will find themselves in the Americana/Folk Art Galleries. On view are primitive paintings from the Colonial era, carousel horses, ship models, decoys and a glass bell collection.

Throughout its 100 years, The Butler has also welcomed a wide variety of temporary exhibits and memorable traveling art.

Please contact Tara Mady, Assistant Director, Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau, at 800.447.8201 or [email protected] for assistance in scheduling a docent-led tour for your group.

Written by Tara Mady, Assistant Director, Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Photo courtesy of Butler Institute of American Art/Mahoning County CVB. 

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