Trip Planner USA  /  Ohio  /  Youngstown  /  Museums  /  The Butler Institute of American Art

The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown

Categories: Art Museums, Museums
Inspirock Rating:
4.8/5 based on 120+ reviews on the web
The Butler Institute of American Art, located on Wick Avenue in Youngstown, Ohio, United States, was the first museum dedicated exclusively to American art. Established by local industrialist and philanthropist Joseph G. Butler, Jr., the museum has been operating pro bono since 1919. Dedicated in 1919, the original structure is a McKim, Mead and White architectural masterpiece listed on the National Register of Historic Places.Among the most celebrated works in the Butler's permanent collection is Winslow Homer's Snap the Whip, a famed tribute to the era of the one-room schoolhouse. Winslow; however, painted two versions of Snap the Whip, with the other version residing in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The two paintings differ, with the Butler's version of Snap the Whip having mountains in the background, while the Metropolitan's does not. In 2007, the museum acquired the Norman Rockwell painting Lincoln the Railsplitter for $1.6 million. The previous owner of the 84.5 by 44.5 inch painting was businessman and former presidential candidate Ross Perot. Other aspects of the nation's past are captured in a unique collection of paintings featuring southwestern Native Americans, which were once part of Joseph Butler's personal collection.
Put The Butler Institute of American Art into our Youngstown itinerary planner to see other points of interest to visit during your vacation in Youngstown.
Create a full itinerary - for free!
going to
read all reviews »
  • I was pleasantly surprised by the large selection of multiples styles of American art; most notably the modern art, which is comparable to the Cleveland Art Museum. This museum is a big bright gem in ...  read more »
  • My husband and I have seen many art museums throughout the U.S. and the Butler is the finest museum we have seen in a small city. The collection of American art is outstanding. The one exception is an...  read more »
  • As someone who does not typically go to art museums, I will say that I really liked this art museums. I went here for a college class and was really impressed with the variety of art. There is also qu...  read more »
  • The Butler Institute of American Art is a magnificent and shining gem. Deceiving in its size as viewed from the road, Google Maps, and even from the imagery on their own homepage, ‘The Butler’ as it is commonly referred to has an extensive collection spread out over two floors in its main building (with three floors of art in the newly opened and quite modern attached-annex), and in several wonderful galleries in the upper floor of the church next door (accessed by an impressive glass-enclosed elevated walkway). Masterpieces by Winslow Homer, Fitz Hugh Lane, Robert Vonnoh, Thomas Cole, Herman Herzog, Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sargent, Norman Rockwell, and Albert J. Bierstadt are among the vast collection that spans centuries (18th to current) and genres (Impressionism to Modern, and a combination of Art and Technology). I was lucky enough to see a special exhibit of art by Tony Bennett, which included quite a few wonderful pieces. Parking is free, and on the ride side of the main building (the gate at the guard shack will automatically raise for you as you drive up to it). Employee parking is on the left side of the main building, and the security guard on duty appeared to be taking down license plate numbers so maybe don't park there. The entrance to the museum is through a set of double-doors on the front porch, itself framed by two gorgeous columns and a tiled deep-blue and mosaic ornate ceiling. There is an information desk to the left with free gallery floor plans and other literature, as well as a visitor registry, and to the right is the security desk. Admission is free. There is a donation box in front of you as you enter the foyer. Just ahead of the foyer is the Fine Art store (visit this last), and the elevator to the upstairs exhibits. The best way to see the museum is to start with the galleries to the left as you enter the museum and go clockwise through the main galleries that surround the great two-story main hall. After this I would suggest heading into the new annex and see everything there, on all three floors. Next, tour the exhibits in the great hall in the main building – first floor, then the second floor, followed by the galleries on the second floor that surround the great hall, and then proceed via the glass walkway into the galleries in the church. There is a small, well-lit café and a gift shop on the main floor at the rear of the museum. Both are well worth stopping in for a visit. Rest rooms are on the second floor just off of the elevators. If you truly enjoy art, and are the type of person that will stand there and appreciate a piece you love while becoming absorbed into it, allow about three hours to tour the museum. This museum is well worth your time. I drove three hours one-way from north-central West Virginia and was extremely happy that I took the time (on my birthday) to visit this wonderful American treasure. Highly recommended.
  • Awesome art with rotating exhibits. Great pokestop too.
  • One of the coolest places I've been to. The art was just amazing as well! Can't wait to visit more often!
  • Just something about this place love it!
  • Great place with many attractions for all ages. Be sure to check out the children's area in the basement if you have little ones.
Nearby Attractions
Visit for 2​h 30​m
Visit for 2​h 30​m
Visit for 1​h 30​m
Visit for 3​h
Visit for 1​h
Visit for 3​h
Visit for 1​h 30​m