The Proctor Museum

Alexander Phimister Proctor, 1893, during World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago

Alexander Phimister Proctor, 1893, during World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago

The A. Phimister Proctor Museum, located near Seattle, in Hansville, Washington, was established in 1997 by the artist’s grandson, Phimister Proctor Church. As a twenty-year-old college student at the University of Washington, Phimister, better known as Sandy, made it his goal to collect one of each of his grandfather’s sculptures.

This seemingly lofty goal grew into a life-long passion, evolving into a collection of thousands of pieces of original art, bronzes, plaster models, engravings, sketches, Indian artifacts, and historical documents. Sandy’s search for his grandfather’s art and life-story, led him on a journey around the United States and into several other countries, and became what he refers to as “following in Grandfather’s footsteps.”

It’s an amazing story, about how one discovery has led to another, uncovering Proctor’s connection to history and the American art world. Some of the artworks Sandy discovered among Proctor’s keepsakes, were original pieces by other well-known artists who were Proctor’s friends, such as Charles Partridge Adams, Robert Vonnoh, Bessie Potter Vonnoh and George de Forest Brush.

Sandy’s daughter, Laura Proctor Ames, joined the Proctor Museum in 1998 and works side-by-side with her father to educate the world about her great-grandfather and his life and work. Together, Sandy and Laura share a passion for Proctor, and many fun adventures around researching his life and preserving the family legacy.

In 2005, under the recommendation of several prominent art historians, the Proctor Museum donated a majority of it’s collection to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center of the West, where approximately 100 original Proctor artworks are on display today.

The A. Phimister Proctor Museum still maintains a collection of unique Proctor art and continues to research, publish, collect and loan, while pursuing its education and conservation programs. The Proctor Museum offers private tours by appointment.

The mission of the Proctor Foundation and the A. Phimister Proctor Museum, is to promote an understanding and appreciation of the art created by Alexander Phimister Proctor.  Through a conscientious program of research, acquisition, publication, and exhibition, the Proctor Foundation strives to engage audiences in Proctor’s art and the adventurous life of the man behind it.

A note from Phimister Proctor “Sandy” Church…

In 1944, my Granddad, Alexander Phimister Proctor, lived with our family. I remember tales he told me of cowboys and Indians, bear hunting and climbing mountains, and the old days of the Wild West. He taught me to lasso and gave me one of his old rifles. I learned about Indian culture using an Indian headdress and peace pipe, given to my Granddad by Chief Little Wolf.

Before he left our house two years later, he sculpted a bas-relief of me. To this day, when I look at that piece or hold his old tools I recall the smell of clay and the hours of tedious posing… intense fidgeting was more like it! Needless to say, that 82-year-old man and his seven-year-old grandson bonded.

Proctor and Sandy

Alexander Phimister Proctor with his grandchildren: Sandy is on his lap. Left to right behind him: Peggy Ann, Campbell Scott, and Betty Jean.

I have always felt Granddad’s presence in my life, guiding me in my journey to share his life story and art. Now it’s my turn to give back to Granddad by promoting an understanding and appreciation of the art he created. I keep the Proctor spirit alive, by teaching others about his contributions to the world of Western art history, supporting exhibitions, researching and publishing scholarly books on his life and work.

Thanks for your interest in Proctor and for helping us share his story and the artwork he created a century ago.

— Phimister Proctor “Sandy” Church

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