Last updated: 2/17/2022
920 3rd Avenue South
Fort Dodge, IA 50501
As of 2/16/22 current hours are:
Tuesday - Saturday
11 AM - 5 PM
Closed on Holidays
Free will donations are accepted.
Group and school tours are available. Please call to arrange guided tours.
Free. Donations Accepted.
The neoclassical building, which is on the national Register of Historic Places, is located in the interesting Oak Hill District of Fort Dodge. Along with with beauty and historical significance of the museum, the Blanden maintains a high standard of exhibition quality and dynamic spirit of community outreach in the visual arts. The museum is dedicated to providing learning opportunities to engage the community and foster creativity.
The mission of the Blanden Art Museum and the Blanden Charitable Foundation is to strive to inspire and nurture education in and appreciation of the visual arts through the permanent collection, innovation exhibitions and programming.
In 1930, the Fort Dodge Federation of the Arts represented by Mr. and Mrs. O.M. Oleson traveled to San Diego with the intent of talking to Charles Blanden about their plans for an art museum. Blanden was a former former City of Fort Dodge Mayor in the late 1880's, who had a successful business career and retired to San Diego, with his wife, Elizabeth, a former Fort Dodge School teacher. Elizabeth died in 1929.
Charles had two viable choices: building an art museum in San Diego dedicated to his wife's memory or in Fort Dodge, Iowa. He chose Fort Dodge, giving $35,000 to build the museum in a classic architectural style. The Blanden was designed by architect E.O. Damon Jr. of Fort Dodge after the neo-classical design of the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio. Charles Blanden, who died in 1933, also bequeathed his collection of art to the museum.
The museum site land was donated by Mrs. Ringland the heir of Woolsey Wells, a pioneer settler of Fort Dodge, and maternal grandmother of Ann Smeltzer. The Blanden is located in the hart of the Oak Hill Historic District near the center of Fort Dodge. The Blanden Memorial Art Museum opened its doors on June 5th, 1932 as Iowa's first municipal art facility.
The Blanden's permanent collection is recognized for its superb holdings of modern American and European paintings, African Sculptures, and the 16th - 20th century American, European, and Japanese prints. Due limited museum space, permanent collection pieces are rotated every few months for public viewing.
Art classes for children and adult workshops are taught by the museum educator or a guest instructor. Credit option may apply on adult workshops depending on the instructor and class.
Visiting opening receptions for visiting artist exhibits,and lectures occur throughout the year. Docent and volunteer programs are available. Educator guides and other information on current exhibits are provided. Fees and other cost involving borrowing educational materials are handled on a case by case basis depending on the request.
Galleries include the Main foyer, East Gallery, West Gallery and a Second floor gallery which is accessible by stairs or elevator.
Access: Staff Only
Appointment required: Yes
Our museum magazine the "Newsletter" is published quarterly and can be found on several websites besides our website www.blanden.org
Gift shop items such as exhibition catalogs may be purchase by mail with payment method of check or money order. For list of current catalogs visit the Blanden website.
•90% of our One~of~A~Kind gift shop sales go to the artist and 10% to the museum’s Art Education Fund.
•Museum members receive a discount on many gift shop purchases.
Handicapped Accessible through the west door off the alley; take the elevator, press Floor #1. Handicap parking is also available.