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The Muscarelle Museum of Art’s received a $2.5 million donation from the family for which it is named.
Joe and Sharon Muscarelle are carrying on a family tradition of supporting the museum that bears their name, following in the footsteps of Joe’s parents Joseph and Margaret Muscarelle, who helped the College of William & Mary establish the museum in the 1980s.
“My mother and father would be proud of this museum today,” Joe Muscarelle said. “The most compelling reason for our involvement is that we want to perpetuate my mother and father’s legacy, and make their memory ever-present with something tangible.”
William & Mary has a long history of advancing the study of art that began when the university received its first gift of art in 1732. From that point forward, the college amassed an extensive collection of art that culminated in the creation of an official museum in which to house it in 1983.
Currently the Muscarelle Museum’s collection includes more than 5,000 works of art, and the museum attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world annually.
Joe and Sharon became involved with the museum 10 years ago when they first learned the college was facing serious cuts in funding that would affect its maintenance. Since that time, they have organized and sponsored fundraisers, chaired the 25th anniversary celebration and taken an active role in the museum’s Board of Trustees, of which Sharon is currently a sitting member.
The $2.5 million contribution is one of the largest ever given to the museum and will continue to fund its vision of housing world-class art exhibits and serving as an educational space for students of art in which to immerse themselves.
The bulk of the gift will go toward enhancing and expanding the museum in the coming years. In addition to the base donation, Joe and Sharon have launched a $500,000 challenge that commits them to matching all new gifts for the Muscarelle capital building project through June 2020.
“The famous Georgia O’Keeffe painting White Flower found a permanent home when Joe’s parents invested in the museum years ago. With this generous gift, many other treasured art collections can be preserved, protected and on display for students, faculty, friends and the public alike,” Muscarelle Museum Director and CEO Aaron De Groft ’88 said. “I look forward to working with Joe and Sharon on efforts to strengthen the museum’s foundation in the years ahead.”