Gems from the Permanent Collection

Curated by:
Christine McCarthy
Exhibition Checklist:
click here to see Checklist PDF


One of a museum’s greatest assets is its permanent collection. Not only does it take you on an art historical journey, but it also preserves an important legacy, and in this case, that of the oldest continuous art colony in America. The permanent collection is an important measure of a museum’s value. And PAAM’s holdings of local and regional art is extensive and dynamic. The collection weaves together multiple art movements—each a significant strand of American art history—and creates perspectives that uniquely position the Provincetown art colony as pertinent to the larger art world. Another measure of a museum is how well it uses its collection. PAAM’s collection is at the foundation of many educational programs and exhibitions. Both the award winning student curating program and the year-round workshops make use of collection works to stimulate creativity. We have determined, through this trying time, that arts matter.

A glance at PAAM’s collection records shows how many hundreds of individuals have been moved to express their generosity through contributions which virtually encompass the entire collection. Amassed over a century, PAAM’s permanent collection has been donated by collectors who really care that the region’s art remain here. Our sincere appreciation goes out to all the donors who have continued to build and strengthen our important collection.

This exhibition features a variety of media showcasing some of the gems from PAAM’s Collection. We invite you to experience a trip through a century of creativity that continues to inspire our unique spit of land – Provincetown.


Image: Blanche Lazzell, The Pile Driver, (detail), 1945, PAAM Collection, Gift of Napi and Helen van Dereck, 2020