WORCESTER, MASS.- The Worcester Art Museum
announced today an unprecedented commitment of $4 million to support the endowment of its director position. The gift from the Myles & C. Jean McDonough Foundation, made at the direction of C. Jean McDonough, is in recognition of WAMs contributions to the cultural landscape of Worcester and the broader region for nearly 130 years. The gift, which will be recognized through the naming of the directorship, is the largest to endow a staff position in the Museums history, reflecting Jean McDonoughs lifetime of service to the institution and generous support while ensuring the advancement of WAMs vision to further engage and diversify audiences.
Jean McDonoughs exemplary dedication to the Worcester Art Museum, first as a member and docent, and later as an active and longstanding member of the Board of Trustees, has helped move WAM forward on many fronts, said Matthias Waschek, now the C. Jean and Myles McDonough Director. As WAM strengthens its regional influence and draw, it is important that the director position be endowed by a local philanthropist and Museum friend, such as Jean, because it underscores the very deep roots and lasting impact the Museum has in this city.
The gift to the Worcester Art Museum is part of a $15.25 million commitment by the Myles and C. Jean McDonough Foundation in support of seven leading cultural institutions in Worcester and central Massachusetts. The contribution that was announced today by the McDonough family is a sweeping philanthropic act that will have profound and lasting benefits to Worcester and surrounding communities. In addition to the Worcester Art Museum, the McDonough commitment will be used to support initiatives at the American Antiquarian Society, EcoTarium, The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, Music Worcester, Tower Hill Botanic Garden, and Worcester Historical Museum. Representing some of the oldest and largest cultural organizations in central Massachusetts, the institutions combined represent more than 850 years of serving the Worcester community and attract nearly 580,000 visitors each year.
The McDonough gift builds upon a series of community-focused initiatives undertaken by WAM in recent years. Reflecting a reinvigorated commitment to improving the visitor experience, the Museum reopened its historic Salisbury Street doors in 2012 and will unveil this fall a state-ofthe-art access ramp designed by Kulapat Yantrasast of wHY Architecture, allowing all visitors to enter the building through the front entrance. The Museum has also grown its holdings with such landmark acquisitions as Veroneses Venus Disarming Cupid and the integration of the Higgins Armory Museum collection of arms and armor in 2014, which allowed a treasure of national importance to remain in Worcester. Such programs as the reinstallation of the Museums Old Master collection have rekindled visitors engagement with important works from the collection in a dynamic gallery environment that serves as a classroom, laboratory, sanctuary, and community space. Recent exhibitions such as Knights! and Samurai! have also continued to engage audiences in new ways by applying a contemporary lens to historical materials with dedicated spaces for families to experience works of art.