When Barbara Palmer and her late husband, James, made the lead gifts for the Palmer Museum’s expansion and subsequent renovation, their goal was to ensure Penn State’s art museum would serve as a cultural treasure and educational resource for arts patrons of all ages for years to come. In honor of Barbara’s 90th birthday on March 30, friends and family surprised her with the establishment of an endowment at the Palmer, which will help the organization continue to thrive.
Barbara’s longtime friend, Mimi Barash Coppersmith, was the brainchild behind the endowment. “Among the numerous great deeds, personally and philanthropically, this community has received from Barbara and Jim, the Palmer Museum will be their living legacy into perpetuity,” she said. “I consider the endowment in her honor as a perfect gift for her birthday. Happily, nearly 125 other contributors agreed!”
The Barbara Palmer 90th Birthday Endowment, which will provide lasting support in the areas of acquisitions, conservation and exhibitions, honors a woman whose longtime philanthropy to Penn State -- in areas including music, theatre, engineering, outreach, communications, libraries and many more -- demonstrates her commitment to bettering the University and surrounding community.
“Looking to the future, when the Palmers’ remarkable collection of American art moves on to the University, their generosity along with our new endowment will help ensure the museum’s high quality and leadership -- also into perpetuity,” said Coppersmith.
The Palmer Museum has more than 7,500 works of art -- including many American art pieces given by the Palmers -- which are featured in rotating exhibitions. The museum also presents temporary exhibitions of works of art by world-renowned artists from all periods and places, and from both private and public collections.
This new endowment will allow the museum to increase its budget for acquisitions, conserve the permanent collection and new, but damaged, works, and provide additional funding that will allow the museum to consider a wider variety and higher caliber of temporary exhibitions each year.
Anyone interested in honoring Barbara Palmer and supporting the Palmer Museum, may make a gift to the Barbara Palmer 90th Birthday Endowment by visiting www.givenow.psu.edu/Palmer90thSurprise or sending a check with “Palmer 90th” in the subject line to College of Arts and Architecture Development Office, 107 Borland Building, University Park, PA 16802.