The Permanent Collection, showcased in two wings, contains more than 4,000 objects of world art dating from the 15th-century to the present, offering a visual mecca of American, European, and Asian art. Among its treasures of internationally important works are those by 20th c. master Pablo Picasso (1881-1973); English portraitist Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1839); American painters Martin Johnson Heade (1819-1904), Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827) and Kentucky’s Frank Duveneck (1848-1919).

The historically important mid-19th c. John Hampden Smith Decorative Arts Wing features four period rooms showcasing five centuries of fine and decorative arts including the William Taylor Stevenson 18th Century Drawing Room; the Jim and Peggy Ryan Victorian Parlour and the Boone/Moore American Empire Room.

The contemporary American works include such important artists as Jack Youngerman (1926-2020), Robert Berks (1922-2011), Peter Reginato, Harry Jackson (1924-2011), NA, Kevin Red Star, T. D. Kelsey and Joe Downing (1925-2007). A special selection of 20th c. Studio Art Glass represent artists of national and international acclaim such as Stanislav Libensky (1921-2002), William Carlson, Joel Phillip Myers and Jon Kuhn.

An important aspect of the Permanent Collection documents the cultural history of Kentucky from the early 1800’s to the present and more than 1,000 objects celebrate the internationally recognized tradition of American Folk Art.

The Mildred Stout Field Stained Glass Gallery presents a magnificent collection of sixteen late 19th c. German stained glass windows by the internationally recognized glass maker Emil Frei (1869-1942), installed in 20’ towers.

The museum’s Ryan Sculpture Park celebrates the origins of Owensboro, Kentucky, in a monumental outdoor sculpture installation documenting the buffalo trace which led early settlers to establish the community on the banks of the Ohio River.