Ancient American, Native American, 17th-Century, and Maritime Art

Redefining the Art of the Americas

This ancient Olmec mask dating from 900–550 BC, is one of the oldest objects in the Art of the Americas collection. It will be on view, along with other art from the ancient Americas and Native American art, on Level LG of the new wing.

This ancient Olmec mask, dating from 900–550 BC, is one of the oldest objects in the Art of the Americas collection. It will be on view, along with other art from the ancient Americas and Native North American art, on Level LG of the new wing.

The magnificent new Art of the Americas Wing was designed with several major goals in mind, among them: bringing the art of North, Central, and South America together; showing more of the collection in innovative and inspiring ways; and offering visitors a greater understanding of the art of the Americas.

The wing’s 53 new galleries are arranged on four levels, reflecting a broad range of art from all of the Americas. Level LG includes the earliest art of the Ancient Americas, such as the Olmec mask above. Rich assemblages of art and artifacts allow visitors to experience the variety, individuality, and creativity of people living in North, Central, and South America.

The Museum’s pre-eminent collection of furniture, silver, and paintings representing the beginnings of art in colonial New England is displayed on Level LG. Among the highlights are the Brown-Pearl Hall (a period room from about 1700) and the Manning House Gallery, featuring a late 17th-century house frame enclosing outstanding Boston, New Haven, and Connecticut furniture, church and domestic silver by Hull and Sanderson and other important craftsmen, and rare surviving portraits of the period.

The Putnam Gallery, devoted to ship models, maritime arts, and marine paintings, is also on this floor, evoking the patterns of colonization and commercial development that have been central to the growth of the Americas.