A Look Inside the Montclair Art Museum + Everything It Has to Offer

Written by:

If you’re lucky enough to be able to take a walk through the streets of Montclair, you’re greeted with culture at every corner. From an extensive dining scene to quaint shops and boutiques, there is something for everyone. The Montclair Art Museum is no exception, providing visitors with rich culture and historical value in every visit, right in the heart of bustling Montclair. Read on for more about this museum, how to spend a day there, and what else it offers that you may not have known about before.

About the Montclair Art Museum

montclair art museum mam

Many people don’t know about the rich slice of history and culture that sits nestled right in their own suburban backyard, something quite rare for a museum. Montclair Art Museum opened its doors in 1914, making it the first museum to focus primarily on collecting American and Native American art in the country, beginning with donated pieces from prominent residents of Montclair William T. Evans and Florence Rand Lang.

Montclair Art Museum’s art education program was established ten years later in 1924 with the Yard School of Art, the art education program that still exists today after merging with the Montclair Art Museum in 1999. While classes were limited when the museum first opened, today you can find classes in a wide array of artistic mediums including ceramics, mixed media, painting, digital media, and more. 

montclair art museum

{Photo credit: @mammontclair}

Many Montclair residents are familiar with the Van Vleck House + Gardens but what they may not know is that Howard Van Vleck himself, a local horticulturist, developed the grounds of the museum into a beautiful arboretum in the 1940s.

Read More: Art Galleries to Visit in Essex County

Today, upon visiting the museum, you can expect to find over 12,000 works of art and countless exhibitions. The museum has future plans to expand its grounds to include an outdoor plaza with a water wall and reflecting pond, a serene area to be enjoyed by all visitors. 

Visit the Montclair Art Museum

montclair art museum

{Photo credit: @mammontclair}

In standard years, tickets to visit the Montclair Art Museum can be reserved upon arrival, and visitors’ time inside is not limited. Now due to the pandemic, however, MAM is still currently offering one-hour timed tickets, free to purchase for members and children, on the website which must be reserved before your visit.

The museum is enforcing all social distancing guidelines including limiting the number of visitors in the museum at once, checking temperatures upon arrival, using contactless check-in, and more.

The Montclair Art Museum also offers a variety of ways to enjoy virtually. The museum offers family activities to participate in from home, tours of each gallery exhibit, and unique viewings such as Surprises from the Vault, a virtual program in which the registrar team of the museum selects their favorite pieces with unique and hidden histories to surprise you with.

What You Can Find Inside

montclair art museum

{Photo credit: @mammontclair}

Visitors can stay up to date with which temporary exhibits are on display by visiting the On View portion of the website. Currently, the Montclair Art Museum is hosting exhibits like Undaunted Spirit: Art of Native North America, Uncaged: Animals in the Collection, George Inness: Works in the Collection, to name a few.

See More: A Guide to Acting Studios + Theater Groups in Essex County

The museum also boasts its permanent collection, which can be viewed at any time of the year, including the world-renowned George Inness collection and impressive displays of Native American art.

The Yard School of Art

montclair art museum

{Photo credit: @mammontclair}

As we know, the Montclair Art Museum joined forces with the Yard School of Art in 1999. Since then, it has worked diligently to expand its offerings to all age groups, interests, and skill levels. You can currently find the schedule and offering of classes for the spring season on the website categorized by adults, teens, and kids, and families. These classes include Zoom classes or for those who are ready to get out and about for in-person art classes, there is an in-person schedule as well.

Next time you’re walking around Montclair, be sure to pre-plan a trip to the Montclair Art Museum and as we quickly approach spring, you won’t want to miss the outdoor gardens and areas to walk around and enjoy the outdoor sculptures that sprinkle the grounds. 

For more about Montclair Art Museum, visit the website or Instagram.


Written by:

Alexa is a born-and-raised Jersey girl who grew up in West Orange and later moved with her family to North Caldwell. Growing up in Essex County, Alexa has a love of all things Montclair! A teacher by day, Alexa is certified in elementary and special education and has her master’s degree in literacy. Alexa studied art at the Montclair Art Museum for years which played a pivotal role in starting @AlexaMartinDesigns in 2018, her small business side hustle focusing on all things creative. In her free time, you can find Alexa grabbing donuts at Montclair Bread Company, a drink and some '90s jams at Jake's, or dinner at her fave spot, Turtle + the Wolf.