Nelda Childers Stark built the museum diagonally across from the Stark House ( OP2) to contain the collection of American art assembled by her husband, H. J. Lutcher Stark. The dramatic one- and two-story building, virtually windowless, features a second story that is cantilevered over the diagonally aligned entrance loggia. Vermont marble facing and highly exaggerated scuppers seek to invest the museum with a sense of monumentality.
The museum was the first of a series of buildings and places that the Stark Foundation built to give Orange the cultural infrastructure it previously lacked. Across Green Avenue from the museum is the block-square Stark Park (1980). South of the park at 707 W. Main Avenue is the 1,500-seat Frances Ann Lutcher Theater (1980, PageSoutherland-Page). At 803 W. Green is Orange City Hall, occupying the house that another Lutcher grandson, Edgar W. Brown Jr., built in 1924; E. H. Stubee Company of Houston was the architect.