A Guide to Visiting the Portland Museum of Art

There are many great attractions to explore in the city of Portland, but The Portland Art Museum is definitely up there as being one of the best things to do in the Oregon City. Here is a Guide to Visiting the Portland Museum of Art…

When was the Portland Museum of Art Founded?

It was founded in 1892, making it the oldest art museum in the Pacific Northwest. The gallery space spans over 112,000 square feet, making it one of the biggest art institutions in the country.

From its very first collection of about 100 plaster casts made of Roman and Greek sculptures, the Portland Art Museum now houses over 42,000 items.

How much is it to get into the Portland Museum of Art? 

Admission is free for members and visitors 17 years old and younger. Adults are charged an admission fee of $25, while seniors and college students enjoy a discounted rate of $22.

Where is the Portland Museum of Art located?

The Portland Museum of Art is located along SW Park Avenue. The official address is 1219 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR 97205. 

What are the opening times for the Portland Museum of Art?

The opening times are from 10 am to 5 pm on Wednesdays to Sundays.

Does the Portland Museum of Art offer tours?

Portland Museum of Art Oregon

The museum usually offers guided tours that usually last about an hour, but these are temporarily on hold. You can go on a self-guided tour though, which can be much better because you have full control over which section you want to see and how long you will stay in each section.

It can take days for you to really enjoy an in-depth experience of the entirety of the Portland Art Museum. With thousands of works of art divided into several sections, you will definitely have to come back multiple times to really soak in the beauty of the artworks on display. But if you just have one day or a few hours to spend, it would be good to know which parts of the museum you should go to first.

What are the main exhibits at the Portland Museum of Art?

 Portland Museum of Art

The museum features a varying range of artwork from different parts of the world and from different genres of art, but works from local artists and those that depict life and culture in Portland are always highlighted.

Exhibits usually run a few months at a time so you have plenty of chances to see the work of your favorite artists on display. Following are the shows that are currently open.

Shades of Light

These are an eclectic mix of Korean pieces from the museum’s permanent collection that includes ceramics, photography, sculpture, textiles and printmaking. The common denominator in the exhibit is the artistic use of light that enhances the beauty of the works.

Making a Mark: Contemporary Drawings

This exhibit features the drawings of 23 artists that use very diverse styles and techniques in their work. Now belonging to the Portland Art Museum, the drawings used to be part of the collection of Werner H. and Sally Kramarsky, and includes works by Arnold Kemp, William Anastasi, Allyson Strafella, Marco Maggi, and Joan Waltemath.

AUX/MUTE Gallery

Even in this modern age, BIPOC artists are still lacking in sufficient representation in high art institutions. This exhibit aims to change that by providing them with a venue for showing their stories and their work. You will see some really amazing pieces displayed in this gallery.

APEX: Sharita Towne & a Black Art Ecology of Portland

Sharita Towne is known as an extremely talented trans-disciplinary artist, and called by many as the true grandchild of the Great Migration. One of Portland’s great prides, Towne is passionate about Black history, geography, and opportunities, and her work showcases this.

The APEX exhibit features collaborations among the finest artists in the community, such as the Nat Turner Project, the Northwest Black Comedy Festival, the Albina Vision Trust, and many more.

Portraiture from the Collection of Northwest Art

Portraits are depicted using a wide variety of styles, and you can definitely see the diversity in this collection. The pieces all come from the museum’s Northwest collection and many of them were handpicked by renowned portrait artist Storm Tharp.

You will be mesmerized by the themes and styles of portraiture used in this collection, which includes a number of self-portraits by the artists as well.

Isaka Shamsud-Din: Rock of Ages

One of the versatile and beloved artists of Portland, Shamsud-Din creates paintings that portray the folklore and personal stories of the people in the community and that commemorate individuals through captivating portraits.

The title of this exhibit, Rock of Ages, is derived from the title of the artist’s painting of his father, which has just recently been acquired by the Portland Art Museum. Among the paintings that are featured in the exhibition are several murals that Shamsud-Din made over 5 decades, highlighting the different aspects of the city of Portland and its people.

Color Line: Black Excellence on the World Stage

More than a century ago, civil rights activist and historian W.E.B. Du Bois presented an extraordinary representation of the life of African Americans in the form of a photo exhibit at the 1900 International Exposition.

The show displayed over 300 remarkable photographs of African-Americans in various aspects of life back in the time when racial segregation was very common.

Selected pieces from this original exhibit are now featured at the Portland Art Museum. Ironically, despite having been taken more than 100 years ago, these same pictures are still very much reflective of our society in the present day. Viewing this exhibit is quite eye-opening to history and to what is still going on in the world today.

Does the Portland Museum of Art have a shop? 

Museum Art Shop

Many would agree that the best thing you can take home with you from the Portland Art Museum is the experience of witnessing all those beautiful works of art through your own eyes.

But if you want to bring home something tangible with you as a souvenir, you can choose from the wide selection offered at the PAM Store.

This is not like your typical souvenir shop that sells mostly magnets, pins, postcards, and the like, although you will see plenty of them here as well. In this shop, you can find more unconventional souvenirs like rare books on famous artists and their works.

The items you can purchase from the Museum Store are not only wonderful souvenirs of your visit but they can also make great gifts for your loved ones.

Most visitors delight in the vast collection of Native American art that you can buy from the museum. There is a wide selection of salad bowls, mugs, woven blankets, coasters, and other items that will add a touch of Portland pizzazz to your home.

There are also a vast selection of personal accessories like tote bags, coin purses, umbrellas, embroidered patches, bangles, hats and other wearable art that you can choose to buy for yourself or as a present to your loved ones.

For the young ones, there are playing cards, plush toys, and an assortment of kiddie books that feature Native American art.

Amazing Opportunities for Local Artists

Portland Art

One of the truly wonderful things about the Portland Art Museum is its unwavering support for local talent.

Aside from regularly featuring the works of famous Portland artists, the museum also encourages new artists to develop and showcase their skills through the Rental Sales Gallery. All Portlanders who have a flair for the arts and want to pursue a career as an artist are invited to join as member artists of the gallery.

The Rental Sales Gallery currently represents over 200 local artists using all kinds of mediums. Each year, they host a Spring Show and a Fall Show, where the works of member artists are displayed and may be purchased by the public.

They also hold a Summer Show every two years, where the highlight is the work of new artists. If you happen to be in Portland in time for these fabulous shows, you can get to experience fresh art and even purchase one or two pieces to take home with you.

How to Get to Portland Art Museum

Portland Art Museum is very accessible if you are already in the city. If you take the bus, it is just a 4 to 5-minute walk from several bus stations, including SW Salmon & Park East, SW Jefferson & Broadway West, SW 6th & Columbia, SW 6th & Main, and a few more. There are 20 different bus lines that can take you to these stations so getting there is no problem at all.

If you are traveling straight to the museum from the Portland Airport, the best way is to take the tram.

Travel time is about 46 minutes and the fare is $3. You can also take the bus if you don’t mind transfers, as there is no direct route. The entire bus trip will take approximately 1 hour and 12 minutes.

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