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Museum of Fine Arts

255 Beach Drive N.E.
Saint Petersburg, FL

Phone: 813-896-2667 --

Statement of Purpose

It began as a dream, a dream by Margaret Acheson Stuart that St. Petersburg could be the site of a truly first quality museum of fine arts, one that would compare favorably with those she had seen in historic cities all over the world. In only five years the dream came true!

It all began in 1960, soon after Mrs. Stuart made St. Petersburg her year-round home following years of winter visits. Although she was a quiet person who avoided the limenight, Mrs. Stuart persuaded friends to help her raise a million dollars and convince the city to contribute a beautiful four and one-half acre waterfront site.

The Museum of Fine Arts opened in its magnificent Palladian style building overlooking Tampa Bay in 1965 with an exhibition of works mostly lent by members for the occasion. But in the years that followed it has become one of the foremost museums in the Southeast, recognized by the State of Florida as a Major Cultural Institution entitled to special funding through the Florida Arts Council and the Division of Cultural Affairs.

Mrs. Stuart died in 1980, and she was granted her final wish-that her ashes be buried in the Memorial Garden, surrownded by the galleries of the Museum she had brought to life. Not only had Mrs. Stuart set in motion a well-organized, future-oriented, community based art museum that has continued to grow and expand, she also gave generously from her personal assets. Early on she established a million dollar trust fund to create income for operation of the Museum, then over the years she contributed significantly toward capital improvements and maintenance costs.

Nine years after Mrs. Stuart's death, her nephew, Charles W. Mackey, announced completion of yet another of her original goals, a multi-million dollar expansion, doubling the number of galleries from 10 to 20 and creating offices and storage space in second floor wings. Mackey was a founding member of the Museum's Board of Trustees, and has been President of the Board since 1988. He headed the fund-raising committee which made the expansion possible.

Founding director of the Museum was Rexford Stead oversaw construction of the building and the initial phases of building a collection. He was succeeded by Lee Malone who served until his retirement in 1982. Michael Milkovich, who succeeded Malone, is a Croatian native who came to the Museum from the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis, Tennessee, where he served as director.

And what of the years ahead? Milkovich plans to build on a reputation for quality that he inherited from his predecessors. "We may only have one work by an artist, but we best. The standard aproach is quality," he adds.

As a museum of fine art, the St. Petersburg museum aims to offer the public a complete and culturally diverse history of art, from ancient to contemporary. Milkovich says the strength of the Museum's permanent collection is American and European 18th and l9th Century art, and "the main thrust for the future will be to increase our holdings in American, 19th century French and contemporary art."

Highlights & Collections

The Museum also plans to expand its already large collection of photography, one of the finest and most diverse in the Southeast.

20 galleries. Sculpture garden. Monet, Renoir, Gauguin, Cezanne, O'Keeffe, pre-Columbian, Asian art and photography.

Exhibits & Special Events


The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.

Guided tours by trained docents, special programs, lectures, and films are offered on a regular basis.

Admission & Directions:



Check with us at a later date.

Key Personnel:

Micahel Mikovich, Director

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