History of the Museum

The Norton Museum of Art was founded in 1941 by Ralph Hubbard Norton (1875–1953) and his wife, Elizabeth Calhoun Norton (1881–1947). The Nortons were actively interested in fine arts and developed a sizable collection of paintings and sculpture.

An industrialist who headed the Acme Steel Company in Chicago, Mr. Norton retired in 1939 to make his permanent home in West Palm Beach, Florida. Upon moving south, the Nortons decided to share their collection with the public. In 1940, the Norton Gallery and School of Art was built on property located between South Olive Avenue and South Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach. Mr. Norton commissioned Marion Sims Wyeth, of the distinguished firm of Wyeth, King & Johnson, to design a building to house the collection. The late Art Deco/Neo-Classic building opened its doors to the public on February 8, 1941.

The Museum Collection consists of 7,000 works of art concentrated in the following departments: European, American, Chinese, Contemporary and Photography.