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Dallin Art Museum – 20 years of success

Susan Gilbert provided this news listing of 2019 milestones for a two-decade-old Arlington cultural institution.

dallin logo

2019 was a banner year for Arlington’s Cyrus Dallin Art Museum. Arlington’s only art museum accomplished several significant achievements, building on its many successes since its inception 20 years ago.

Cyrus Dallin (1861–1944) lived and worked in Arlington for more than 40 years. The artist is known for some of America’s most iconic sculptures, including Appeal to the Great Spirit at the front of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Paul Revere in Boston’s North End.

Highlights from 2019 include:

  • In honor of its 20th anniversary, the museum hosted a commemorative celebration that featured the unveiling of a new exhibit of Cyrus Dallin’s oil paintings. About 50 people attended, including two of Dallin’s great-grandchildren. Read a news summary >>  
  • Attendance was up 35 percent, and the museum was the host for numerous group tours. One such tour comprised 23 Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) senior associates, affiliates who provide guided tours of the MFA. The MFA is particularly interested in the Dallin Museum because Cyrus Dallin’s sculpture Appeal to the Great Spirit is located in front of its Huntington Ave entrance since 1912, and the Dallin Museum has a 41-inch-high replica. Read a news summary >>  
  • The Boston Globe named the Dallin Museum as one the seven best museums for single artists in the Boston area. 
  • The museum acquired two additional paintings: an 1884 portrait titled Mrs. Hall’s Letter, acquired with the financial support of Andrew and Irene Jay, and a self-portrait of Dallin donated by Diane Magid, Deborah Kagay, Jacqueline Dennis and Roger Smithson, descendants of Cyrus Dallin’s sister Daisy.
  • In honor of Town Day, the museum hosted its 15th annual Art on the Green art and author festival. Numerous artists sold handcrafted wares and several local authors promoted and signed their latest works, including investigative reporter and best-selling author Hank Phillipi Ryan. Read a news summary >>
  • Eleven Lakota children from the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, site of the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre, visited the museum through the Medford-based Lakota YouthStay program. The youth enjoyed learning how Cyrus Dallin, while growing up in Utah, developed a special bond with Utes families and children, which he maintained all his life. Read a news summary >> 
  • Executive director and curator Heather Leavell was a guest speaker at an MFA symposium about the implications of Dallin’s Appeal to the Great Spirt as a public commemoration of Indigenous history and experience.
  • The museum received a $10,000 grant from the Joan Pearson Watkins Revocable Trust. The gift was facilitated by Trustee Jonathan Fairbanks, founder of the MFA American Decorative Arts and Sculpture Department in honor of Cyrus Dallin and Joan Pearson Watkins, a talented potter, collector, and supporter of the arts.
  • The museum received a $1,000 Arlington Cultural Council grant for the restoration of Cyrus Dallin’s c. 1889 French landscape painting Auvers-sur-Oise
  • The museum held its first Friends of the Dallin Museum meeting. This new stewardship group is composed of business and art professionals, Dallin descendants, and community leaders dedicated to furthering the museum’s strategic goals.
  • Donors have contributed more than $15,500 toward the museum’s $18,000 annual appeal fund-raising goal. Contributions support the museum’s daily operations and provide experiences that enrich, inspire, and empower our community. Donations continue to be gratefully accepted at or by check payable to the Dallin Museum and mailed to 611 Mass. Ave., Arlington, MA 02474.

For 2020, the museum is planning a new, major fund-raising event. The Cyrus Dallin Art Museum Gala will take place Wednesday, April 15, at Arlington Town Hall and feature the world premiere of an original short play about Dallin’s 57-year quest to complete the iconic Paul Revere Monument in Boston’s North End. Visit for more information about this exciting event.

The Dallin Museum is open for visits on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, noon to 4 p.m. Larger group tours can be arranged by calling 781-641-0747 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Become a volunteer: They are crucial to the museum’s daily operations and help on a weekly, monthly or on an as-needed basis.

The museum seeks a new treasurer for its board of directors, as well as docents and associate trustees with experience in development, event planning, marketing, education, graphic/web design or exhibit fabrication. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 781-641-0747.

This news listing containing opinion was published Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020.

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