The Fitchburg Art Museum has its origins in the passion for art of one of Fitchburg’s most celebrated citizens, Eleanor Norcross. She was an accomplished artist who studied at Art Students’ League in New York, where her teacher, noted American Impressionist painter William Merritt Chase, was so impressed with her talent that he urged her to continue her studies in Paris, which she did.
The Museum collection includes many pieces of Norcross' work, as well as the textiles, dishes, and furniture she collected abroad with the dream of creating an art center in Fitchburg. Her large painting, My Studio, says much about the decorative objects she loved. Her bequest of her collections and funds made it possible to open the Fitchburg Art Center in 1929 -- “for the joy and inspiration of art.”