The Hermitage, a 42-room Arts and Crafts mansion constructed between 1908 and 1936, is home to the Sloane Collection, an assemblage of fine and decorative art which rivals the house itself in both scope and inventiveness. With over 5,000 objects, the collection spans 5,000 years of art history and represents over 30 countries.
The Sloane Collection is unique in that it was assembled over a fifty year period by one woman, Florence K. Sloane, and remains in its original building almost entirely intact. The Hermitage was designed to serve as both Mrs. Sloane’s home and as a public museum where visitors could come to learn about art, music, religion, and culture. Mrs. Sloane believed that museums were the most important component of civilized society, and as a result she filled the Hermitage and the Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences (now the Chrysler Museum) with thousands of objects from all over the globe. Mrs. Sloane worked tirelessly to build a cultural life for the people of Norfolk until her death in 1953, and her legacy persists at the Hermitage.