Florence Griswold Museum

Matilda Browne (later Van Wyck), b 1869- d 1947, William Chadwick, b 1879- d 1962, Frank Vincent DuMond, b 1865- d 1951, Frederick Childe Hassam, b 1859- d 1935, Willard Leroy Metcalf, b 1858- d 1925, Henry Ward Ranger, b 1858- d 1916
96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT 06371 - view on Google Maps
860-434-5542
“So you see, at first the artists adopted Lyme, then Lyme adopted the artists, and now, today, Lyme and art are synonymous.”
—Florence Griswold, 1937
Located on an 13-acre site in the historic town of Old Lyme, Connecticut, the Florence Griswold Museum features the restored Florence Griswold House, where the artists of the Lyme Art Colony lived, a gallery of changing art exhibitions, education and landscape centers, extensive gardens, and a restored artist’s studio. Visitors can stand at Childe Hassam's favorite painting spot, stroll Miss Florence's lovingly restored garden, and rest where Chadwick posed his model for the now famous, On the Piazza.

ABOUT

The Florence Griswold Museum is a nationally-recognized center for American art and history. The 13-acre site on the Lieutenant River in the historic town of Old Lyme offers visitors the opportunity to explore art, history, and nature in a New England village setting.

The cornerstone of the Museum is the Florence Griswold House, a fine example of a late Georgian-style house, designed in 1817 by Samuel Belcher. In 2006 the Museum completed restoration of the boardinghouse to its 1910 heyday, when American artists such as Childe Hassam and Willard Metcalf, as well as leading public figures such as Woodrow Wilson, called it their summer home. Between 1899 and the 1930s, over 135 American artists boarded in the Florence Griswold House – it was the center of Impressionism in America. Leading artists were invited to paint a panel on the walls or doors of the house. Over 43 panels now adorn the house, with a concentration in the Dining Room. Here is one of the most complete chronicles of the art colony movement in America. There is no other room like it in America.

The Robert and Nancy Krieble Gallery, completed in 2002, is a 10,000 square foot state-of-the-art exhibition, collection storage, and study facility. The Florence Griswold Museum’s collections were further enhanced by the remarkable donation of the 190-piece American art collection of The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company in 2001. Paired with its preeminent Lyme Art Colony Collection, the Museum now boasts an exceptional collection of American art from the 18th to the 20th centuries with local ties to Connecticut and New England. The Gallery hosts changing exhibitions of American art and culture.

Other facilities include the Hartman Education Center, which was constructed in 1999 on the site of an original barn and is used for education programs for people of all ages; the Rafal Landscape Center, a renovated barn where visitors learn about the landscape’s cultural importance as an inspirational place for American artists to live and work; and the c.1920 William Chadwick Studio, which was moved to the site in 1992 and restored as an example of a Lyme Art Colony artist studio.

Visitors enjoy Miss Florence's restored garden and orchard, which were the subject for so many paintings by the Lyme Art Colony artists. Temporary outdoor sculptures can often be found on the grounds.

Did you know...?

The tradition of artists painting the woodwork of their boarding houses was probably imported from the French art colonies of Barbizon, Giverny, and Pont-Aven. Many artists of the Lyme Colony had painted in these places.

SPECIAL RESOURCES

The Museum’s extensive American art collection includes 890 paintings and nearly 2,000 works on paper by approximately 135 American artists associated with the Lyme Art Colony. The Lyme Art Colony Collection includes over 5,000 objects such as paintings, letters, photographs, decorative objects, easels and palettes, household and studio furnishings, textiles, and artifacts. The Museum also maintains a specialized archive of biographies, personal papers, and photographs regarding American artists, making FGM a prominent center for the study of American Impressionism.

The Lyme Historical Society Archives encompass correspondence, photographs, publications, and other records documenting the history of the towns of Lyme and Old Lyme. The archival collection includes Lyme and Old Lyme town papers; business records; local family papers; local house research; historical maps; photographs and postcards; oral history audio tapes; personal papers of Florence Griswold and members of the Lyme Art Colony; records of the Lyme Art Association; artists’ correspondence; and papers of the Florence Griswold Museum, which is the principal public entity of the Lyme Historical Society. The Archives provides research and reference services to the public by appointment. It is housed in the Chauncey B. Stillman Study Center.

WHAT TO DO HERE

  • Tour historic Florence Griswold House.
  • Families can enjoy a scavenger hunt in the Florence Griswold House.
  • View changing exhibitions in Krieble Gallery.
  • Visit William Chadwick’s studio.
  • View temporary outdoor sculpture.
  • Visit restored gardens.
  • Relax on a bench by the Lieutenant River.
  • Lunch at Café Flo (May through October).
  • Picnic on the grounds (from Café Flo or bring your own).
  • Make an arts and crafts project in the Hartman Education Center.
  • Paint and draw on the grounds – use your own supplies or borrow them at the Hartman Education Center.
  • Artists can bring materials and paint on the grounds.

YOU CAN ALSO SEE THE ART HERE:

  • Works by Lyme Art Colony artists hang in museums and private collections worldwide.