A work of art itself, the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art houses one of the finest collections of American Art in the Midwest. The Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art originated in 1913 with the founding of the St. Joseph Art League. With the hope of establishing a public art museum in St. Joseph, the League acquired the William Merritt Chase painting "A Venetian Balcony." This purchase would become the first work in the Museum's permanent collection. The League used various exhibition spaces over the years, and on May 6, 1966 opened the Albrecht Gallery, later Albrecht Museum, in the former home of Mr. and Mrs. William Albrecht. A major building expansion completed in 1993 honored the patronage of Mr. R. Crosby Kemper and the museum's name was changed to the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art. Through the generosity of Mr. Kemper, his family and foundations, and many other supporters, the Museum's collection has grown to include an extraordinary group of colonial portraits, rich holdings of American landscape paintings, as well as fine examples of American Impressionism and the Boston School. An important pastel by Mary Cassett is a study for an oil painting of the same subject now in the White House collection. Other highlights include urban realist paintings from the "Ashcan" School, "Custer's Last Stand" by the influential regionalist Thomas Hart Benton, important contemporary works by recent American masters and an outstanding collection of 18th through 21st century works on paper.
The former William Albrecht family home with a spacious addition provides the perfect backdrop for works by artists including Mary Cassatt, Robert Henri and Edward Hopper. A wide variety of special programs compliment the Museum’s collection, including temporary exhibitions, child and adult art classes, gallery talks, and special events.