Worcester Art Museum to preserve Higgins Armory legacy with new Arms and Armor Gallery
Grants are pouring in, new trustees are on board and the Worcester Art Museum is exploring a capital campaign to help fund the permanent gallery for the valuable arms and armor it acquired from the iconic Higgins Armory Museum after it closed because of financial problems five years ago.
The 4,000-square-foot Arms and Armor Gallery planned for where the WAM library is currently located is the last key component of the court-approved agreement that transferred the collection as well as about $7.5 million in capital to WAM.
WAM has received 17 grants, primarily from Worcester-based foundations, totaling nearly $6.7 million in direct support of WAM’s integration of the Higgins Armory Collection. That includes $2.4 million in funding several large foundations new to WAM, as well as in renewed support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
The new funds include a $600,000 award over three years from Boston-based Barr Foundation and the Klarman Family Foundation last week. Another foundation, which asked to remain anonymous, had never before made grants in Worcester but especially wanted to support the Higgins integration, Mr. Donnelly noted. WAM also received two competitive federal awards to support the continuing planning and development of WAM’s permanent Arms and Armor Gallery: a planning grant from the $40,000 NEH Planning Grant in April and a $250,000 challenge grant from the IMLS.