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Michener Art Museum Celebrates the Founders who Formed the Institution a Quarter Century Ago

DOYLESTOWN, PA-The James A. Michener Art Museum kicked off its 25th anniversary year with a Founders Celebration Saturday, June 15. More than 200 attended the gala cocktail reception in the museum’s Edgar N. Putman Pavilion, including four of the museum’s six founders: Bill Brenner, Robert Byers, Frank Gallagher and Herman Silverman. Kay Steele Renninger was represented by by her daughter Sally Henriques and other family members..

“We are gathered to pay tribute to the vision of a core group of individuals who saw Doylestown as a cultural center for Bucks County and beyond,” said Michener Director & CEO Lisa Tremper Hanover. “The historic and aesthetic beauty of this town, the extraordinary array of talent nurtured in this region, and the determination to create a locus for collecting, exhibition and stewardship of a critically important artistic genre were just some of the motivations.”

These were also smart business people who understood the value of creating a destination that would also have a positive economic impact on our community, Hanover continued.

Herman Silverman was feted with the James A. Michener Legacy Award, an award that has only been presented once. Recipients of the award have demonstrated a high standard of excellence in the literary, visual or performing arts, or shaped the landscape of the arts community through their vision and philanthropy, Hanover said. “You are being recognized for transforming this institution and this community with your passion and deliberate and consistent message that we are worth the investment.”

Silverman’s award came with a one-of-a-kind commissioned glass composition created by Don Gonzalez of Echo Beach Glass in Stockton, New Jersey, whose whose work is found in major private and public collections, including the Michener. “Herman has carried the torch for this museum from the very beginning and continues to be influential and instrumental in its evolution,” Hanover said of Silverman, whose friendship with Jim Michener endured until the Michener’s death. The Silverman name continues to be associated with community organizations: Delaware Valley College, The County Theater, the Airport Commission.

“There are some remarkable stories to tell about the evolution of our museum,” said Hanover, beginning with its origins in the Bucks County Council on the Arts, the former Bucks County prison, and how namesake James A. Michener was cajoled into supporting a museum, where his legacy could last beyond the years of his literary fame.

Hanover thanked the 68 individuals who have served on the board over 25 years, the family of Gretchen Knoell whose bequest is funding the 25th anniversary series of initiatives and events, event co-chairs, committee and staff, as well as past Director/CEO Bruce Katsiff.

The James A. Michener Art Museum is located at 138 South Pine St., Doylestown, Pa. Museum hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10 am to 4:30 pm; Saturday 10 am to 5 pm; Sunday noon to 5 pm. Admission: Members and children under 6, free; adults $15; seniors $13; college student with valid ID $11; ages 6-18 $7.50; under 6 free. For more information, visit or call 215-340-9800.