First Private Museum in Rochester Opens

August 22, 2018 08:43 PM

(ABC 6 News)-- A new museum; the first of its kind for Rochester, is now open. Tours started on Wednesday. 

It was a labor of love for the artist's widow, who opens her home to people and opens their eyes to the beauty of sculptures.


When Chuck and Arlyn Gagnon built their home 33 years ago, they designed it with the intent it would one day become a private museum.

“We are just now opening it to the public and that's exciting,” said Arlyn.

After getting approval from the Planning and Zoning board, City Council and her neighbors, Arlyn give scheduled tours of the "Charles E. Gagnon Museum & Sculpture Garden”. It’s a way to honor her late husband. 

The two were married for 47 and a half years.

“It was always fun, it was always exciting and we were friends … and that was important,” said Arlyn.

Chuck passed away in 2012. 

“He loved the idea of harmony and joy and hope. These are the inspirational things that people read in his sculpture,” she said. 

Chuck spent his early career in Italy casting bronze sculptures in a 13th Century Italian castle. However, most of his work was created in Minnesota. 

57 of his sculptures are on display at the museum and counting (Arlyn adds more all the time). 

“Chuck was the only private professional sculptor in Rochester,” said Arlyn. “So he left his legacy here of 50 years.”

He also left a visible mark on the city. Chuck sculpted the Peace Fountain in Peace Plaza. 

“The meaning of many of them  -- and of course the Peace Fountain -- that word, ‘peace’,” said Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede, “To know that he [Chuck] was world-renowned, it's very special to have that [Peace Fountain] here.”

As for Arlyn, even though she sees Chuck's work every single day … “I see something new in it and it draws me back,” she said. “It’s like visiting a friend. You have that friendship forever.”

Wednesday through Sunday, Aryln gives two tours a day. To schedule one, visit:


Hannah Tiede

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