The Museum was founded by visionary members of the community in 1967 as the Wichita Falls Museum and Art Center, focused on art, science, and regional history. The Museum was accredited by the AAM in 1973. The 16,500 square foot museum located on scenic Sikes Lake was heavily damaged from a tornado in 1979, but was rebuilt and expanded. The Museum’s history includes the addition of a new 6,572 square foot wing in 1990 and the renovation of the art galleries in 2010, as well as securing an endowment fund that continues to support operations.
The Museum focuses on art exhibitions and concentrates on its outstanding collection of art works on paper and American print collection. The Permanent Art Collection focuses on the history of American art through printmaking. Other art works in the collection include sculpture, paintings, drawings, pottery, and rare books. The total number of art works in the data base is approximately 3,000. By 2010 the museum’s permanent collection included more than 1200 art works on paper by American artists ranging from a 1677 print by John Foster to major works by Jasper Johns, Jackson Pollock, Leonard Baskin, Andy Warhol, Winslow Homer, Mary Cassatt, John Sloan, and many other contemporary artists including Alice Blagg, Judy Youngblood, and Ron Adams.
As the Museum’s art program evolved and strengthened, and as financial and facility constraints diminished the growth of the science and history components of the Museum, the Museum focused primarily on art. In 2001 the process began to allow the adjacent Midwestern State University to acquire the Museum through a donation. The transfer of ownership was finalized on July 20, 2005, and the name was changed to the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at Midwestern State University.
The Museum is both an educational resource for MSU students and an outreach to the community and the region. The WFMA currently houses five art galleries, offers Museum education programs for adults and children, and maintains a facility rental program and a Museum Shop for earned income. THE WFMA has an active changing exhibition program that focuses on contemporary art of the region within the context of American art. Today the WFMA integrates art into the life of the community within the liberal arts mission of MSU and serves as a model of excellence and a catalyst for art enrichment and exploration.
The Museum is an educational resource for MSU and an outreach to the community. It integrates art into the life of the community and serves as a model of excellence and catalyst for art enrichment and exploration.