PSU’s Museum of the White Mountains Acquires Valuable Collections

July 5th, 2012 by blyndes


Plymouth, N.H. – Plymouth State University’s Museum of the White Mountains (MWM) has added two rare collections as its opening date draws closer. The museum has acquired a collection of White Mountains art by women artists from Frances ‘Dolly’ MacIntyre and also the collection of antiquities from the Balsams Grand Resort Hotel from Steve Barba, the former hotel general manager. Catherine Amidon, MWM Director, said the two recent gifts are significant additions.

Dr. Catherine Amidon, Museum of the White Mountains Director, with some of the newest artwork donated to the Museum, which is scheduled to open in February, 2013. Paintings, clockwise from the top, Maria J. C. a’Becket, Edge of the Woods, Martha A. Safford, Mt. Kearsarge from Artist's Brook, Martha A. Safford, Mt. Kearsarge from Crystal Lake, Elizabeth Galbraith MacIntyre Jewell, Autumn, White Mountain

“These two donations help to broaden the gender and geographic scope of the collection,” said Amidon. “Their individual commitments to collecting, and their generosity in sharing their lifetime passion, enhances the educational resources of PSU and insures we can more fully preserve and promote the heritage of our region.”

McIntyre’s collection of art produced by women artists includes dramatic mountain vistas, pastoral valley scenes, rushing rivers and waterfalls and detailed renderings of the mountain flora  by a variety of artists such as Maria a’Becket, Mary Porter Bigelow, Fidelia Bridges, M.E. Loring, Martha Hayes Safford , Susan Ricker Knox, Elizabeth Galbraith MacIntyre Jewell, Martha Safford, Emily Harris Selinger and Lizzie Stevens. McIntyre said the collection is important because people don’t realize the talent and perspective of women artists of that era.

“Women were doing the same good art work that men were doing and they’ve never been recognized for it – and they still aren’t,” noted McIntyre. “If you line the work up between men and women artists of that time – there’s no difference.”

MacIntyre added she excited about the possibilities the MWM presents to the public.

“I was looking for a place that would value it for what it is; it adds a new dimension to the art of the White Mountains and I felt that the museum would honor that and make it available to the public.”

The Balsams Grand Resort has long been regarded as one of America’s finest vacation destinations. Founded in Dixville Notch in 1866 as the Dix House, it counts legendary American statesman Daniel Webster as one of its earliest owners. The Balsams has been recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of America’s treasured historic hotels. The Balsams also plays a key role in New Hampshire’s influential “first in the nation” presidential primary tradition.  Dixville Notch has continuously maintained the honor of being the first community statewide to report its results of the Presidential election.

Stephen Barba worked for 48 years at The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel, starting in 1959 as a 13 year-old caddy, he eventually was named co-general manager, a position he held for 35 years until his retirement in 2005.

“I just know that this is going to be the perfect place for my gift to complement that and to further establish a base of authenticity this museum will have,” Barba said. “There are few things that we do in life that really deserve to be perpetuated, and I believe this is one of them.”

The MWM will be housed in a former church on Highland Street in Plymouth, where a major renovation project has been underway since last winter; it is scheduled to open in February, 2013.   In keeping with Plymouth State’s core mission and goals, the museum will preserve and promote the unique history, culture and environmental legacy of the region.

For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU Media Relations Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or