The Norton’s permanent collection is quite extensive, including more than 400 paintings by more than 100 artists from Renaissance Old Masters to modernist iconoclasts and contemporary neo-realists. In addition, it possesses hundreds of sculptures ranging from miniatures and maquettes to life-size pieces in media including bronze, silver, marble, and wood. Among the oldest works in the Norton are six tapestries dating from the 16th century which once graced the palace of a King of France, while decorative arts are also featured throughout the museum, including works in porcelain, pressed and blown glass, and 18th - 19th century silver.
Along the way, the Norton has gathered representative artists and works from a variety of nations and eras. The European Collection includes periods and styles ranging from works by Jacob van Ruisdael and Meyndert Hobbema from the golden age of Dutch landscape painting to 19th century artistic icons like Mary Cassatt and Auguste Rodin. The Norton’s American Collection covers the colonial period to the present and contains particularly outstanding examples from the Hudson River School and major “Western” icons Frederic Remington and Charles Marion Russell. In addition, the Norton boasts a substantial research library consisting of approximately 10,000 books and also housing the museum’s Rare and Antiquarian Book Collection, the crowning gem of which is one of John James Audubon's very rare double elephant folios of The Birds of America.