Established in 1878 by a group of artists and art patrons, the Lowell Art Association, Inc. is one of the oldest incorporated art association in the United States. Following the death of famous American artist James McNeill Whistler, the Lowell Art Association purchased his birthplace as their permanent home in 1908. Now the Whistler House Museum of Art, the Lowell Art Association owns and operates the historic site as a museum and education space. Built in 1823, the Whistler House represents the richness of the history and art of Lowell. The museum maintains its permanent art collection and organizes contemporary and historical art exhibitions in the adjacent Parker Gallery. It also sponsors varied educational and community oriented cultural programs.