The Maridon Museum opened to the public on May 8th, 2004. It is the only museum in the Western Pennsylvania region with a specific focus on Chinese and Japanese art and culture. The museum, both the objects and the buildings that house them, are the gifts of Mary Hulton Phillips. Mrs. Phillips was a lifelong resident of Butler, PA, and the museum is her legacy to this small town. Patricia Lowry, writing in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, pronounced the Maridon a “gleaming little gem of a museum.”
The Maridon’s permanent collection includes over 800 art objects. The Asian art collection includes jade and ivory sculptures, tapestries, landscape paintings, scrolls, and artifacts. The collection contains objects that date back to the Neolithic Period (2nd and 3rd millennium B.C.), as well as a set of six 6 ft. by 8 ft. ink-on-paper scrolls by the contemporary Chinese artist, Wan Qingli, which was painted in 2002.
Three hundred pieces of Meissen porcelain are also included in the museum’s collection. Many works date back to the early 18th century, and one exceptional piece comes from the personal collection of the Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony from 1694-1733, and the “founding father” of Meissen porcelain.
The opening exhibition of objects is entitled A Collector’s Journey and presents selections from Mrs. Phillips’ holdings that reflect the scope and evolution of her interests as a collector. The exhibition will be on view in the four galleries of the main building.