BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The American Visionary Art Museum is hard to miss. The Baltimore landmark just turned 25.

The museum opened its doors in Federal Hill on Thanksgiving weekend in 1995.

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“The first person through our door was a matchstick artist. Baltimore’s own native son Gerald Hawks,” said founder Rebecca Hoffberger.

The museum features exhibits created by self-taught artist.

“So I came up with the idea of doing a thematic national museum devoted to the role intuition plays in creative inventions of all sorts. Not just art but in music and medicine and then engineering,” Hoffberger said.

Over the years, the American Visionary Art Museum has experienced a lot of success, but this past year has been difficult.

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“We are in about one-third of our operating budget from our own weddings. We do over 100 weddings and special corporate events. So Covid hit us particularly hard. We lost $1.2 million on a bare-bones operation budget of $3 million,” Hoffberger said.

Hoffberger said her staff has been incredibly faithful, some taking pay cuts to help the museum survive.

Now, they’re asking that you consider giving to the museum on Giving Tuesday, so they can continue being a unique asset to the community.

“This is a museum that is devoted to how wonderful and precious each human being has the potential of being of any background and any education,” Hoffberger said.

The American Visionary Art Museum is currently open Wednesday through Sunday. Advanced, online purchase of a timed ticket is required.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Sean Streicher