The Margaret Acheson Stuart Society
The Stuart Society exists:
to promote the welfare of the Museum;
to stimulate public interest and participation in Museum activities;
to increase the Museum’s general membership; and,
to maintain a close acquaintance with the activities of the Museum.
Stuart Society Past Presidents
The Museum of Fine Arts was founded by Margaret Acheson Stuart (1896-1980), a resident of New York City for most of her life who made St. Petersburg her permanent home. Mrs. Stuart, a lifelong student of art and a discerning collector, recognized the need for a museum in St. Petersburg, recruited the assistance of local citizens and professionals from leading museums, and formed a nonprofit corporation in 1961. The charter of the Metropolitan Museum of Art served as a guide for its organization. As its first president, Mrs. Stuart established an endowment of $1 million to acquire new works and to care for and beautify the grounds. She also provided additional funds for construction and architects’ fees and donated her own collection of European and American masterpieces. The city donated the four-acre site of choice waterfront property. The MFA opened to the public in 1965.
Reflecting Mrs. Stuart’s vision, the Museum of Fine Arts has always reached out to the entire community. When questioned by an early critic about the value of an art museum in the city, Mrs. Stuart reportedly replied, “If one child benefits from the Museum, it will all be worthwhile.”
The Margaret Acheson Stuart Society, Inc. was founded on November 29, 1962. The Stuart Society, a 501(c)3 organization, is comprised of over 400 members.
Major fundraisers include: Fall Fashion Show (November 2013); Art in Bloom (March 2014); Wine Auction (February 2014); Affairs d’Art (parties held throughout the year from September through May); Brick Campaign (throughout the year).
2013-2014 Stuart Society Executive Officers are:
President: Margaret Amley
President-Elect: Gail Phares
Vice President: Maggi McQueen
Recording Secretary: Jane Beam
Corresponding Secretary: Sue Froid
Treasurer: Ginger Grimes
Parliamentarian: Elise Minkoff
Stuart Society Meetings: General membership meetings are held September through May, at the Museum of Fine Arts (in the Marly Room) on the fourth Thursday morning of each month at 10:00 AM (social hour begins at 9:30 AM). The exceptions to this are: the November and December meetings are combined and held on the first Thursday of December and the May meeting, which is held on the third Thursday of that month.
The current and past editions of The Scene, the newsletter of the Margaret Acheson Stuart Society, are available for download here.