Parrish Art Museum
Internal view of the Parrish Art Museum
Backstory and Context
The history of the Parrish Art Museum dates back to the Victorian Era with the life of Samuel Longstreth Parrish. Parrish was born in 1849, and belonged to a family of well-known Quakers in Philadelphia. He was a man of the arts. During his years at Harvard, he found his passion and love for art. In his 40s, he began to collect art as more than just a hobby. When Parrish made plans to build a museum, he decided he would do so in Southampton, the location of his family home.
Near the turn of the century, Parrish purchased land in Southampton for the purpose of building a museum. His collection had grown vastly, and the collections focus was in classical Greek and Roman sculpture. This collection would serve as the founding collection of the museum. The first museum was constructed in 1897 as the Art Museum of Southampton.
This original building saw additions over a period of more than forty years. These additions included: additional wings, an arboretum, and a beautiful landscape. Almost a decade after Parrish's death in 1932, the Village of Southampton received the museum, estate, and collection as a gift.
In 2012, the new Parrish Art Museum building was opened after almost thirty years of planning. The original building had served the area for decades, but in the 1980s it could not longer support of the growing museum. Today, the new building is a whopping 34,400 square-feet, and still houses Parrish's founding collection.