Three separate gifts will fund an endowment for the curator of the Delaware Art Museum’s Bancroft Collection of Pre-Raphaelite Art.
The Delaware Art Museum has been through a rough period, following the decision to auction off several pieces to fill a funding shortfall.
But now, there’s some good news. The museum has received a combined $1.7 million in gifts from two anonymous donors and from Peggy and Ed Woolard of Wilmington. The money will be used to create the Annette Woolard-Proivne Endowed Curator of the Bancroft Collection. Annette Woolard is Peggy and Ed’s daughter and is also a current trustee at the Delaware Art Museum.
“Endowed curator positions help museums attract and retain the most talented scholars in the profession,” said museum CEO Mike Miller. “These gifts demonstrate the community’s ongoing support and desire to see the museum thrive.”
The Bancroft Collection includes more than 100 paintings, prints and drawings collected by Wilmington textile mill owner Samuel Bancroft, who died in 1915. The Pre-Raphaelite collection was bequeathed to the museum in 1935 along with 11 acres of land on Kentmere Parkway in Wilmington.
At the end of September, the museum finally paid off its $19.8 million bond debt that was issued in 2003. The debt has been a controversial subject as the museum’s trustees approved a plan to sell off some works of art to pay it off. The debt was originally due to be paid in fully by 2037, but a confluence of the recession and tighter credit standards required accelerated payments on the debt.