Open House

The Walters gives this 170-year-old Mt. Vernon mansion a makeover.

Lauren LaRocca - June 2018

The Walters Art Museum Prepares to Unveil Transformed Hackerman House

The Walters gives this 170-year-old Mt. Vernon mansion a makeover.

Lauren LaRocca - June 2018


-The Walters Art Museum / © Jeffrey Totaro, 2018

If they could talk, the walls of the 19th-century Hackerman House in Mt. Vernon would reveal their storied past and promising future.

The former residence’s 170-year history covers multiple generations of tenants, renovations, and even a period when it fell into disrepair—all before Baltimore philanthropist Willard Hackerman purchased it and gave it to the city in 1984. The property was then awarded to The Walters Art Museum to expand its square footage and house its Asian art collection, which it did until 2014.

Fast-forward to June 16 of this year, when, after a four-year revitalization process, the house will be revealed, once again, as a stunning architectural treasure. The transformed—and renamed—1 West Mount Vernon Place will open to the public as a hybrid of its past: part historic mansion and part art museum.

“We’re getting away from object-label-object-label,” says Eleanor Hughes, project curator and deputy director of The Walters’ art and program division. “This is a different way of encountering The Walters.”

Gone are the mansion’s velvet drapery, worn carpets, and dark, heavy feel. Now, floor-to-ceiling windows flood the marble-floored conservatory with natural light, while fresh coats of paint intentionally reflect a modern palette. It’s lavish—chandeliers, pillars, and a staircase spiraling toward a Tiffany skylight—yet free and available to everyone.

Visitors can engage with the space casually by browsing digital manuscripts on the library’s iPads, working in the all-ages art studio, or roaming the halls to take in rotating exhibits—predominately ceramics—which will fill the entire house, even the stairwell. Guests can also download an app for archival stories about the mansion’s builders, craftspeople, and past residents, giving listeners a micro-history of Baltimore through diverse perspectives.

Philadelphia ceramic artist Roberto Lugo’s handmade dishes and urns, which depict historical African-American figures such as Freddie Gray and Frederick Douglass, will be on display during the grand opening. Although guests will enter the new space through The Walters, the doors of 1 West Mount Vernon Place will be open on special occasions so people can wander in from the sidewalk, as they would have many years ago.





You May Also Like


Arts District

For Everyman's 'Sweat,' They Built a Working Bar Onstage

The Pulitzer Prize-winning play from Lynn Nottage uses the familiar to take a hard look at our country's past and present

Arts District

Beyond Video to Open Nonprofit Film Rental Shop on Friday

A collective of movie lovers brings modern twists to the old video store model.

Arts District

Light City and Baltimore Book Festival Combine for 10-Day Event in 2019

The celebration will illuminate the city with literature and lights next fall.


Arts District

Sean K. Preston Is Ready to Break Your Heart

And win it over on his new rock-and-roll album, Forgive.

MaxSpace

Movie Review: Roma

Alfonso Cuarón's film about his childhood in Mexico City is a humanist masterpiece.

Arts District

Haute Glue By Late Artist Alice Gadzinski Opens at the Creative Alliance

Friends, family, and staff piece together a retrospective exhibit in celebration of the late artist.

Connect With Us

Most Read


Remember When George H.W. Bush Threw Out the Very First Pitch at Camden Yards?: The late 41st U.S. President hosted Queen Elizabeth and the Egyptian president at Memorial Stadium, too.

Airbnb Properties in Baltimore Will Soon Have Stricter Regulations: The city council voted to impose a hotel tax to short-term rentals in Baltimore City.

Open & Shut: Charmed Kitchen; Baby's on Fire; Stang of Siam: The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.

Donna's Cafe To Close in The Village of Cross Keys: The beloved restaurant serves its final meal this Sunday.

Haute Glue By Late Artist Alice Gadzinski Opens at the Creative Alliance: Friends, family, and staff piece together a retrospective exhibit in celebration of the late artist.