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St. John's Art Gallery Papers

Identifier: SC-MS-349

Scope and Contents

This collection contains papers, artifacts, and media related to the establishment and day-to-day operations of St. John’s Art Gallery. It emphasizes exhibits by providing insight into the world of art and curation techniques at the time. Moreover, the collection follows the remodel of St. John’s as they attempted to expand and play host to larger exhibits. This collection includes by-laws, consignment forms, reports, planners, press releases, brochures, correspondence, architectural plans, photographs, postcards, magazines, and newspaper articles.

This collection particularly emphasizes the career of Alan Aiches, the museum’s first director. Aiches' career can be mapped throughout the early 1970s, during the gallery's formative years, to the early 2000s. The collection highlights his involvement with exhibits, public outreach/fundraising, and the expansion and renovation of St. John’s before his resignation.


  • Creation: 1962-2010

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 University of North Carolina at Wilmington, all rights reserved (subject to exceptions). Certain items in this collections were conveyed to UNCW without the accompanying copyright. Where the donor did not convey copyright to UNCW, copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

St. John’s Art Gallery has a long history in Wilmington, originally operating as the Wilmington Museum of Art from approximately 1938-1942. The building was given by the owner to the city of Wilmington, becoming St. John’s Art Gallery in 1962. Over the next twenty years, the museum expanded and built a collection of works by local and regional artists. In the early 1980s, St. John’s expanded its physical space, gaining the former St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and the Cowan House. The museum’s first director, Alan Aiches, was instrumental in helping the museum achieve accreditation by the national American Association of Museums and helping it to launch numerous exhibitions. The museum eventually outgrew its downtown location and relocated in 2001 under the guise of the new Cameron Art Museum.


4 Containers (Contains 3 bankers boxes and 1 map case folder)

Language of Materials



This collection contains the following series:

Series 1: St. John's Art Gallery Records

This series contains documents related to the development of St. John's Art Gallery in Wilmington, N.C., from the early 1960s to the mid-1980s. Papers, media, and artifacts trace the history of the museum and provide background information regarding both the day-to-day operations and long-term plans.

Series 2: Education Material

The series contains the educational materials collected by Alan Aiches throughout his career in the early 1970s to early 2000s. While some items pertain to St. John's specifically, the majority of materials were collected from outside institutions with the intention of studying various aspects of museology and art appreciation.

Series 3: Alan Aiches Personal Papers

This series contains materials and papers collected by Alan Aiches throughout his career from the early 1970s to the early 2000s. It includes correspondence, contracts, notes, projects, and materials related to organizations he belonged to and projects he was involved with.

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated by Andrew Hayes on behalf of Alan Aiches on January 29, 2019.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Olivia Fario in Summer 2021.

St. John's Art Gallery Papers
Olivia C. Fario
2021 July 06
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Randall Library Special Collections Repository