The Currier Museum of Art originally opened in 1929, in a building designed by Edward Tilton of the New York architectural firm Tilton and Githens. Major expansions to the 1929 building were added to the north of the original building in 1982 (designed by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Architects, New York) and to both the north and south in 2007-2008 (Ann Beha Architects, Boston). The museum is located on the site of the home of the museum's original benefactors, Moody and Hannah Currier.
The historic neighborhood in which Governor Currier and his wife lived was originally part of a city-wide development plan conceived by Manchester's major textile manufacturing concern, the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company, in the mid-1830s. Over a period of twenty years beginning in 1855, the company started to divest of hundreds of residential lots in the city. What set these blocks apart from any others in the city was that each contained a single lot of approximately 48,400 square feet. In 1863, Moody Currier bought the lot on which the museum now stands for $1,000. The Curriers built a large single-family house where they lived the rest of their lives. Moody Currier specificed in his will that a museum be erected on the property, and left his home and estate for this purpose. Upon Governor Currier's death in 1898, Mrs. Currier managed the estate
wisely so that sufficient funds would be available. Upon Hannah Currier's death in 1915, a Board of Trustees was appointed to carry out her husband's wishes. By the time the Currier Gallery of Art opened in 1929, the affluent neighborhood of large residences had evolved into one that included several institutional buildings as well as smaller homes on subdivided lots.
The John F. Kennard House (1867), a Second Empire-style frame house to the north of the Currier property, was purchased by the museum in 1939. It was utilized for over fifty years for the Currier's Art Center studio education programs, which are now located in a larger brick structure, the former Women's Aid Home, located one block southwest of the museum. During the preliminary stages of the 2007-2008 expansion project, the Kennard House was relocated to the southwest corner of Beech and Orange Streets.