When you first enter the chandelier-lit museum lobby, you can see the space remains a beautiful showcase of the precise architecture of The Brett Building, a building that has been a staple in Altoona since the 1920s. Retail clothier Jacob Brett chose a more "modern" design than the Neoclassical neighboring structures for his prestigious new department store and office building. In a downtown revitalization project, the building was reimagined as an art museum using the history of the building and its original use as inspiration for the gallery designs.
EXPLORE THE GALLERIES
The incredibly distinctive George A. and Herbert T. Wolf Gallery was designed to invoke the feeling of rail travel with a similar shape and feel, where the artwork acts as the railcar windows. This important design element pays homage to the photography collection of William H. Rau, who was a commercial photographer for the Pennsylvania Railroad in the 1800s.
The Shirley and Fred A. Pechter Gallery and Paul I. Detwiler Education Center are unique in their ability to transform with each installation. The long ramp down to Detwiler allows artwork to be shown in the more traditional museum sense and the open-floor concept of the rest of the gallery is the multi-purpose area. This has been used for some of the favorite community-participation driven workshops for children and adults that take place year-round.
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