Discover an American Master
At the Dallin Museum, you will find an intimate setting where you can experience the art of a great American sculptor. It’s also a place where you can embrace history through the vision of an artist whose work celebrates America’s diverse cultures. Cyrus Dallin found inspiration for his art in classical forms, the heroes of European-American history, his family, and the Native American people he knew and admired. Today, his art brings beauty and meaning to public spaces in many of our nation’s greatest cities.
The mission of the Cyrus Dallin Art Museum is to promote new insights into our shared history by exploring the life, work, and values of this celebrated sculptor of Arlington, Massachusetts.
The Museum’s mission is deeply informed by Cyrus Dallin’s commitment to artistic expression, education, and social justice. In furthering its mission, the Dallin Museum meets an important community need by making fine art accessible to all. General admission is a small suggested donation (no one is ever turned away) and program fees are free or kept to a minimum.
Cyrus Edwin Dallin was born on November 22, 1861 in Springville, Utah. His sculpting and artistic talent was recognized at an early age, and he was sent to Boston at 19 to study with T.H. Bartlett. Today he is regarded as one of the most important sculptors in American art.
Dallin found the road to success rocky. But his perseverance and dedication are revealed in his efforts to complete whatever he started. A telling testament to Dallin’s tenacity is his 58-year trial to get an equestrian statue of Paul Revere funded and fabricated. After seven versions, Dallin’s statue was erected in 1940 in Boston’s historic North End.
In 1891, Dallin married the writer, Vittoria Colonna Murray. The couple raised three sons. During this time, Dallin actively pursued commissions, exhibited, and won many prizes. Stable income to support his family came from teaching appointments, chiefly at the Massachusetts Normal Art School (Massachusetts College of Art and Design), from 1900-1941.
Dallin gained the respect of other famous artists of his day, including Augustus St. Gaudens and John Singer Sargent, who became a close friend. (Sargent’s sketch of Dallin’s Portico is a treasured item in the Museum’s collection.) Dallin’s art was reproduced and collected on a broad scale. Among his most beloved works are his monuments of Native Americans, which changed the face of public art in America.
In 1900, at the age of 39, Dallin moved to Arlington, Massachusetts, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life. As a result, Arlington is now the home for many of his works. Dallin died at his own home on November 14, 1944, a week shy of his 83rd birthday.
We the Directors, Trustees, and Staff of the Cyrus Dallin Art Museum, share with our community collective dismay and heartbreak over the senseless loss of life among Black men, women, and children. We acknowledge and need to understand more fully how racism in our community, state, and country continues to marginalize and endanger Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and limits their opportunities. We fully support the values expressed in the Town of Arlington’s official statement on racial justice.
Cyrus Dallin believed that America was not living up to its ideal as a beacon of democracy. “If [Americans] are to retain our self-respect and continue to hold our place in the world,” he said, “we must admit our faults and mistakes and do our utmost to make up for them.”
Museums are gatekeepers of our country’s history. Museums choose what stories to tell, who can tell them, and to whom they are told. At the Dallin Museum, we recognize the complex task of interpreting the art of Cyrus Dallin, an early 20th-century sculptor with a unique background who represented Indigenous peoples in his works.
Guided by our mission, we commit to listening to and learning from BIPOC to guide current and future interpretation of Cyrus Dallin’s art. We remain dedicated to nurturing an inclusive environment for all of our visitors while promoting new insights into our shared history.
There are several ways in which we are moving forward to begin to put these words into action. These include,
We value the knowledge, skills, and partnerships we have gained and will gain through these important and necessary actions. Through this work, we will share Dallin’s commitments to social justice and community and will strengthen our organization.
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