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50 for 50 | Dallas Museum of Art

The Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) is one of the ten largest art museums in the country. With 159,000 square feet of exhibition spaces, the museum’s global collection is made up of more than 24,000 objects dating back to the third millennium B.C., totaling more than 5,000 years of human creativity. Its research library, The Mildred R. and Frederick M. Mayer Library, contains over 50,000 volumes. Not only does the global collection boast some of the most important modern and contemporary art in the U.S., but also that of the ancient Americas, South Asia, Africa, and European and American painting, sculpture and decorative arts and design.

The museum began with the establishment of the Dallas Art Association in 1903. Works of art were initially hung in the Dallas Public Library, but the collection soon outgrew its space. It was renamed the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts (DMFA) in 1932 and relocated to a new art deco facility in Fair Park for the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936.

In 1963, the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts merged with the Dallas Museum of Contemporary Art. The permanent collections of the two museums soon outgrew the DMFA facility, and in 1984, moved once again to its current location at 1717 N. Harwood Street in Dallas. The $54 million, 370,000-square-foot facility was designed by New York architect Edward Larrabee Barnes and was the first arts organization in the Dallas Arts District.

The Hamon Building was completed on the museum’s north end in 1993, providing a new entrance, as well as expanded public spaces and temporary exhibition galleries. Further renovations were completed in 2016 with the Eagle Family Plaza, which created an outdoor lawn and dining experience, and updates to the Atrium. Ed Barnes’ walled sculpture garden at the DMA, with its four parallel water walls, provides the ever-presence of falling water. The building’s trademark barrel vault aligns with Flora Street, providing a visual depiction of the museum’s important cornerstone in the Dallas Arts District.

The DMA also showcases the performing arts by offering a variety of programs for people of all ages and backgrounds in the community. The Center for Creative Connections, or C3, a 12,000-square-foot facility was opened in 2008 for interactive learning experiences.

A leader of the Dallas arts scene for more than 100 years, the DMA continues to serve as a space of wonder and discovery in North Texas, where art comes alive.

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