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Alfred O. Deshong Museum
The Alfred O. Deshong Collection of 19th century American and European paintings and 18th and 19th century Asian art is now a part of the permanent Widener University collection.

In 1975 the J. Lewis Crozer Library was located in Deshong Park.

In July 1977 a large number of priceless oriental art objects were stolen from the museum.

Interior Pictures of the Museum | Alfred O. Deshong photo & biography

Deshong Museum at opening, 1916

Alfred O. Deshong Museum at opening in 1916.


Deshong Memorial Gallery, Chester, Pa.
Clarence W. Brazer and E. Donald Robb, Architects

"The late Alfred O. Deshong spent most of the latter years of his life in making a collection of modern paintings and fine Chinese bronzes and ivories. Many of the paintings have been exhibited at the Salon in Paris and at the various international expositions in this country. Upon his death in 1913, he left his estate and mansion with its art collection to the city, in charge of three trustees, and willed that a suitable building be erected for the housing of his works of art and that the estate of some twenty-seven acres, which is situated in the center of the city of Chester, PA, be made into a public park.

The beautiful marble structure and the surrounding park are the results of two competitions, both of which were awarded to Mr. Brazer and Mr. Robb as associated architects.

The treatment of the grounds includes various features, such as swimming pools, outdoor gymnasiums, etc. In connection with the building, shown in this issue of Architecture, the completion of the entire scheme will give a most imposing and beautiful institution on the banks of the Chester river.

The modeling and carving of the marble and the models for the bronze are by Donnelly & Ricci. Into the carving there has been introduced many forms of the ivories and fine bronzes to be found within the galleries. The bronze doors and window grilles have been treated in a patina to match the antique Oriental dogs and lanterns placed about the exterior of the building. The building is provided with an indirect heating and ventilating system controlled by thermostats and humidistats to supply a uniform amount of moisture under varying weather conditions. The mechanical plant is in a small basement under the rear with entrance from the exterior of the building only.

The building is of fireproof construction and was erected by the firm of Frank N. Goble.

The main gallery floor is supported directly upon earth while cemented pipe-trenches encircle this room under the surrounding galleries which have floors of reinforced concrete construction covered with cork tile. Each gallery is cut off from the adjoining galleries by automatic sliding copper covered fire-doors.

The large main gallery for paintings has been modeled after the dimensions of the Emperor of Germany's famous gallery at Cassel with very successful results as to the lighting effect during the daytime, as all of the galleries are practically free from raking sunlight at all seasons of the year. The artificial lighting is by reflectors above the diffusing sash.

As the collection is now complete, the paintings have been hung directly from plugs in the masonry walls to exclude the usual non-fireproof sheathing. The walls are hung with a gray "monk's" or "friar's" cloth which gives a very delightful background for the paintings and for the rugs which are hung above the paintings on the walls of the large central gallery.

The installation of the art collection has been under the direction of Mr. John A. Getz who also prepared the catalogue."

- from "Architecture"

Picture of an original Deshong Gallery Sign, courtesy of Widener University Art Collection & Gallery

Deshong Museum Entrance Drive


Bronze & Cloisonne Buddhist Lion; Japanese, Meiji Period

One of the two "lions" that used to flank the entrance of the Deshong Gallery. It is now on display at the Widener University Art Collection and Gallery.


Photos courtesy of Widener University Art Collection & Gallery, Alfred O. Deshong Collection

2002, 2006 John A. Bullock III.
Graphic Details Publications

This page last updated 03/24/06