Palmer Museum's June 1 opening the start of an exciting slate of summer programs

– by Guest Writers

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Palmer Museum of Art will celebrate the public opening of its new state-of-the-art home in The Arboretum at Penn State on Saturday, June 1, and Sunday, June 2. The opening weekend will kick off a summer full of fun programming for all ages at the reimagined, remixed and renewed Palmer Museum of Art.

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A view of the Kahren Jones Arbitman and Michael Arbitman Gallery in the new Palmer Museum of Art. The museum's June 1 opening will kick off a summer schedule featuring a variety of new programs, including first-time summer camps, creative workshops, yoga classes and tours.

- Photo taken by Jeremy Bittermann/JSBA, courtesy of Allied Works

“We are excited to open our doors and welcome the public on June 1,” said Erin M. Coe, director of the Palmer Museum of Art. “We are inaugurating the new building with a fun-filled opening weekend of activities and a summer schedule featuring a host of new programs, including first-time summer camps, creative workshops, yoga classes and much more.”

The opening festivities start at 11 a.m. and go until 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 1, and run from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 2. There will be guided tours of the new museum, including the newly installed permanent collection galleries and special exhibitions, that will depart the lobby every 30 minutes. Guided tours of the Arboretum are scheduled for noon and 2 p.m. on Saturday, departing outside the museum lobby.

Inspired by the museum’s new location in the Arboretum, visitors will explore themes of “roots” and “renewal” throughout the galleries and related activities, including an opportunity to get creative and make paper sunflowers. Added fun is available with a “Picture Yourself at the Palmer” selfie station; a gallery activity sheet for kids; and famous artist impersonators strolling the museum on Saturday, performed by State College Area High School Thespians. Refreshments will be provided (as supplies last), and free parking will be available in the Lewis Katz Building lot across from the museum and the Arboretum throughout the celebratory weekend.

“We are inaugurating the new building with a fun-filled opening weekend of activities and a summer schedule featuring a host of new programs, including first-time summer camps, creative workshops, yoga classes and much more.”

- Erin M. Coe, director of the Palmer Museum of Art.

Scheduled activities:

  • Museum tours every 30 minutes
  • Arboretum tours at noon and 2 p.m., Saturday only

Ongoing activities:

  • Strolling artist impersonators, Saturday only
  • Paper sunflower activity
  • Selfie station
  • Gallery activity sheet
  • Refreshments

In support of the opening of the new museum, the Downtown State College Improvement District is sponsoring free shuttle buses from the Palmer Museum of Art to downtown State College. Palmer guests will be dropped off in the heart of downtown with access to a plethora of diverse restaurants and unique shops. The shuttle will run continuous loops from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 1, with stops at the 200 block of Beaver Avenue and the Palmer Museum on Bigler Road.

The opening weekend is supported by the Palmer's Keystone Sponsors: Mary Lou Bennett and the College of Arts and Architecture at Penn State; Sandstone Sponsors: InVested Advisors, Will and Kevin Ameringer-Byrne, Russell Stone Products, and Karen and Robert Shute; and Mountain Laurel Sponsors: The Beth Richards and Sandy Stover group of Kissinger, Bigatel, and Brower; the family of Steven Wasser; and the Douglas Albert Gallery.

Kish Bank is the lead sponsor of the museum’s inaugural exhibition, “MADE in PA.” The exhibition also is supported, in part, by the School of Visual Arts at Penn State.

Newly scheduled extended museum hours on Thursday evenings have been made possible with generous support provided by the Art Bridges Foundation’s Access for All Program.

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Visitors can take a selfie in front of a special exhibition at the new Palmer Museum of Art.

- Photo taken by Alexis Oltmer

Summer drop-in tours: Meet the Museum

This summer, there are plenty of opportunities to drop in and get to know the new Palmer Museum of Art. Explore the new building with a Palmer guide and enjoy an introduction to the reinstalled permanent collection, along with a brief introduction to two special exhibitions, “MADE in PA” and “MADE in PA on Paper.”

  • Wednesday, June 5, 4 p.m.
  • Friday, June 7, 3 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 8, 2 p.m.
  • Sunday, June 9, 2 p.m.
  • Wednesday, June 12, 4 p.m.
  • Friday, June 14, noon (ASL interpreter provided)
  • Saturday, June 15, 2 p.m.
  • Sunday, June 16, 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, June 20, 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 22, 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, June 27, 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 29, 2 p.m.
  • Sunday, June 30, 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, July 18, 6 p.m.
  • Sunday, July 21, 2 p.m.
  • Sunday, Aug. 4, 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, Aug. 15, 6 p.m.
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Director Erin Coe leading a tour for student interns.

- Photo taken by Jeff Buterbaugh

Drop-in tour: Pride at the Palmer

Thursday, June 6, 6 p.m.

Celebrate Pride Month at the museum with a free public tour highlighting artwork produced by LGBTQ+ artists. An ASL interpreter will be provided for this tour.

Gallery talks

Enjoy in-depth engagement with selected exhibitions or specific areas of the permanent collection. Talks are led by museum curators, educators or invited specialists.

Upcoming gallery talks:

  • Thursday, June 13, 6 p.m.: “MADE in PA” with Erin Coe, Palmer Museum director, and Joyce Robinson, assistant director.
  • Sunday, June 23, 2 p.m.: “MADE in PA on Paper” with Patrick McGrady, Charles V. Hallman Senior Curator.
  • Thursday, July 11, 6 p.m.: “MADE in PA on Paper” with Adam Thomas, curator of American art.
  • Sunday, July 14, 2 p.m.: “MADE in PA” with Erin Coe, Palmer Museum director, and Joyce Robinson, assistant director.
  • Thursday, Aug. 1, 6 p.m.: “The Art of Teaching: Medical Education and the Integrated Curriculum” with Dr. Mike Flanagan and Dr. Mark Stephens, Penn State College of Medicine.

Private group tours at the Palmer

Guided tours can now be scheduled, with tour dates beginning July 2024. More information and a tour request form are available on the museum’s Learn & Teach page.

Drop-in workshop: Time to Weave

Thursday, June 20, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Enjoy a free, drop-in and hands-on discovery of the weaving process, inspired by textiles on display in the Arts of Africa Gallery. Textile artist Marie Huard will provide a demonstration of loom weaving. Instructions and supplies will be provided to create a small project on a handheld loom; projects will likely be completed at home.

Creative self-care studio sessions

Thursday, June 27, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and Thursday, Aug. 22, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Get creative, connect with others, move your hands, learn about self-care art techniques, and take time to relax and rejuvenate through art-making processes at our free, drop-in self-care studio sessions. Hosted by Erin E. Carter, assistant teaching professor of creative arts therapies, these sessions will focus on therapeutic art practices for self-care as well as provide a time and place to build community with other creative people.

Yoga at the Palmer

Thursdays, June 27 to Aug. 8 (no class on July 4), 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Join instructor Latisha Franklin for yoga, mindful movement and meditation at the museum. All bodies are welcome, and no experience is necessary. Space is limited to 20 participants per class, and registration is recommended. Borrow a yoga mat or bring your own! Register HERE for Yoga at the Palmer or click HERE for more information.

Family Day: Pop-inspired Prints

Saturday, June 29, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Pop in for some relief — relief printmaking! Participate in inking and pressing prepared images, inspired by Pop Art in “MADE in PA,” and learn to create your own relief print with a simple process and common materials. Drop in and discover the joy of making inky impressions. All ages are welcome; children must be accompanied by an adult. Generous support for this project provided by Art Bridges.

Workshop: Sneaker Painting

Saturday, July 13, 1 to 5 p.m.

Bring your own clean canvas sneakers and let art inspire your design! Take a brief journey through the galleries to gather creative ideas, then get painting in the Palmer’s studio classroom. Instructor and educator Brandi Breslin will provide gentle guidance, paint, brushes, and other supplies to help you create one-of-a-kind shoe masterpieces. Open to participants age 15 and older for a fee of $35. Participants 15-17 must be accompanied by a participating parent/guardian. Advance registration is required, and information will be provided soon.

Adult class: Introduction to Plein-Air Painting

Six Saturdays: July 20 to Aug. 24, 1 to 4 p.m. 

Explore the enchanting realm of plein-air (outdoor) painting, led by local artist Sydney Turner. This six-week course at the picturesque Arboretum and Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State offers a comprehensive journey into the art of landscape painting. From mastering the basics of sketching and gathering photo references to experimenting with watercolor, gouache and ink, participants will delve into the diverse techniques of open-air artistic expression. As part of this class, students will also enjoy private study sessions of a selection of the museum’s watercolor and gouache landscapes to inspire and admire! Whether you are a novice or an art enthusiast, this class is designed to cater to anyone new to the world of plein-air painting, requiring no prior art experience. All supplies needed during classes are provided with registration; a supply list will be provided for those interested in acquiring at-home supplies. Join us for an immersive experience! 

The fee for the class is $350 or $300 for students and Arboretum/Palmer volunteers. Register for "Introduction to Plein-Air Painting" HERE (Firefox, Safari, or Edge recommended).

2024 Kids’ Summer Camp

Summer Camp at the Palmer Museum of Art is devoted to artistic adventures. Campers aged 9–12 will enjoy exploring the galleries, creating art, and participating in a variety of art-inspired activities and games. Each week-long camp offers a specialized focus and is led by highly skilled and experienced art instructors. Sessions also include age-appropriate rest times, creative play, opportunities for socializing, and group walks through the Arboretum (weather permitting). Campers will pack their own lunches and snacks.

Museum Camp: Pressing Prints - $325

July 22 to July 26, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Explore the secrets of the art museum, find artistic inspiration in the galleries, and unleash your creativity through the magic of printmaking. Instructor: Liza Johnson.

Register for "Pressing Prints" HERE (Firefox, Safari or Edge recommended).

Museum Camp: Art & Nature - $325

July 29 to Aug. 2, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Discover art that celebrates the connections between art and nature and get creative with natural materials and subject matter in a variety of artistic mediums, including painting, sculpture, drawing, and more. Instructor: Ronda Seymour.

Register for "Art & Nature" HERE (Firefox, Safari or Edge recommended).

Art After Hours: LEAP into Art and Community (Learning Edge Academic Program)

Thursday, July 25, 5 to 8 p.m.

Take a break during the summer session and LEAP over to the museum to exercise your creativity for the benefit of your community! Reflect on the power of art to communicate, question and inspire change and explore connections between art and protest music with a self-guided ARTify tour. Stroll through the galleries for inspiration before making your own collage that combines visual materials with text and calls to action. Light refreshments will be provided. Generous support for this project is provided by the Art Bridges Foundation.

Art & Mindfulness

Date coming soon

Join Blake Colaianne, assistant research professor in the College of Health and Human Development, for an introduction to mindfulness practices, then participate in a guided practice session in the galleries. Stay tuned for the official date and time.

Art in the Garden: Sun Prints at the Arboretum

Wednesday, July 31, 10 a.m. to noon

Join Palmer educator Brandi Breslin in the Children’s Garden at the Arboretum to play with printmaking in the sun. Discover image-making with photosensitive materials and “develop” your knowledge of cyanotypes, an early method for making photographs without a camera.

Educator Open House

Thursday, Aug. 8, 3 to 6 p.m.

K-12 educators are invited to drop in and browse school resources, learn about innovative gallery teaching strategies for class visits, and explore current exhibitions. Take away an educational poster featuring an artist from “MADE in PA.” Generous support for this project is provided by the Art Bridges Foundation.

Faculty Open House

Thursday, Aug. 15, 1 to 6 p.m.

Drop by during the Faculty Open House to explore opportunities for curricular connections at the museum. Chat with Palmer staff about ways to engage students through special exhibitions like MADE in PA, browse resources for interdisciplinary teaching and learning, and brainstorm ways to integrate the museum into your courses.

Art After Hours: Pop + Politics: Fight for Your Rights pARTy

Thursday, Aug. 29, 5 to 8 p.m.

Kick off election season at the first Art After Hours of the fall semester! Exercise your civic rights and register to vote before catching a gallery talk of the special exhibition “MADE in PA” to explore art and social commentary in the Keystone State. Soak up some inspiration from a pop-up exhibition on art and activism before designing your own button that combines text and image for a cause. Music, performances and light refreshments will be provided. Generous support for this project is provided by the Art Bridges Foundation.

Quiet hours

While many people seek out a solitary museum experience, filled with beauty and contemplation, "quiet” is not necessarily a defining feature of many art museums, including the Palmer. Between gallery programs, group tours, and enthusiastic art lovers interested in discussions and discoveries, the Palmer is often hopping with activity. During established quiet hours, museum leaders promise to avoid scheduling programs in the galleries and alert drop-in visitors to the hushed environment.

Upcoming quiet hours:

  • Wednesday, June 12, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Friday, June 28, 2 to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, July 7, 2 to 5 p.m.
  • Friday, July 19, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 21, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Visitors who anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about physical access to the Palmer Museum of Art are encouraged to contact Rebecca Simpson, visitor experience manager, at 814-863-9068 or in advance. For more information on the Palmer Museum, visit

About the Palmer Museum of Art

The Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State is the largest art museum collection between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and the most significant academic art museum in the state of Pennsylvania. A key element of Penn State’s land-grant mission of teaching, research and public service, the museum is a vital and accessible cultural resource for Penn State’s students, faculty and scholars, as well as for all visitors to and from the entire central Pennsylvania region. Through its world-class objects, programs and outreach, the free museum is a welcoming, inclusive and vibrant forum for authentic arts experiences and cultivates meaningful dialogue about today’s most potent ideas and pressing concerns.

An expansive 21st-century teaching museum, the Palmer Museum of Art is a beacon for advancing the arts and humanities on Penn State’s University Park campus and throughout its diverse communities. The museum is dedicated to catalyzing groundbreaking research, scholarship and publications and providing impactful, object-based learning for Penn State and K-12 students. The Palmer Museum’s rewarding and thought-provoking exhibitions and programs promote visitor participation, belonging and discovery.

About the Art Bridges Foundation

The Art Bridges Foundation is the vision of philanthropist and arts patron Alice Walton. The mission of Art Bridges is to expand access to American art in all regions across the United States. Since 2017, Art Bridges has been creating and supporting programs that bring outstanding works of American art out of storage and into communities. Art Bridges partners with a growing network of over 220 museums of all sizes and locations on nearly 700 projects across the nation, impacting over 4.1 million people, to provide financial and strategic support for exhibition development, loans from the Art Bridges Collection, and programs designed to educate, inspire and deepen engagement with local audiences. The Art Bridges Collection represents an expanding vision of American art from the 19th century to present day and encompasses multiple media and voices. For more information, visit

Read the Palmer Museum of Art’s new building pairs art and nature article to learn more!

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