Over the course of the class we traveled 770 miles. It has been an enormous pleasure getting to know, however briefly, some of the staff and institutions that make up the truly wonderful network of university art museums and galleries in Virginia. In total we managed to visit six different museums and galleries and our only regret was that we were not able to visit more. The rich variety, breadth, and depth of the world-class collections we saw, not to mention the outstanding exhibitions of contemporary art, were only surpassed by the commitment, passion, and generosity we experienced at every institution we had the privilege and honor of visiting. Profound gratitude goes to all who answered endless phone calls, emails, and thoughtfully responded to our many questions. Your openness was greatly appreciated by every student in the class, and myself especially.
Special thank-yous go to, in order of appearance: Ashley Kistler, Director of the Anderson Gallery at Virginia Commonwealth University, along with her team, Exhibition Manager, Michael Lease, and Traci Horne Garland, Gallery Coordinator and Collections Specialist. At the Muscarelle Museum at the College of William & Mary, we would like to thank the Director Dr. Aaron De Groft and Dr. Amy Gorman, Curator of Education & New Media. At the Joel and Lila Harnett Art Museum and Print Study Center and the Lora Robbins Gallery of Design from Nature at the University of Richmond, we would like to extend our gratitude to Elizabeth Schlatter, Deputy Director and Curator of Exhibitions, David Hershey, Collections Administrator, and Hayley Sykes-Ludden, Coordinator of Museum Visitor and Tour Services. Our next stop was the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College where Martha Kjeseth Johnson, Interim Director, taught us about the importance of being Louise Jordan Smith (1868-1928). At the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts in Farmville at Longwood University, Program Director Beth Cheuk and Emily Gresham, Curator of Education, and Ashley Webb, Collections Manager, gave us a detailed and informative tour that took us from the museum across campus. Our last stop was the University of Virginia Art Museum where we spent a truly delightful afternoon with Nicole Anastasi, Assistant Registrar, and Director Dr. Bruce Ambler Boucher.
A special thank you should also be extended again to Dr. Boucher and also to Dr. Elizabeth Hutton Turner, the Vice Provost of Arts at the University of Virginia, for graciously agreeing to participate in interviews illuminating their careers and outlook for arts programming on university campuses. Last but not least, I would like to thank Glenn Lowry, Director of the Museum of Modern Art, for kindly allowing a student and I to ask him about his experiences as the first director of the Muscarelle Museum at the College of William & Mary. His time there was one of the key moments in the history of that institution, but it was also a formative moment in his own career. Shining a light on the significance of university art museums and galleries as training grounds for future directors, Lowry provided us with a personal yet insightful assessment of the role of the university art museum in the nation’s cultural fabric today, which served as an enlightening conclusion to our class.
Finally I would like to thank the Department of Art History at Virginia Commonwealth University for giving me the opportunity to teach this class, but most of all I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the incredible group of students who participated for making it so great. Any successes the website may have are due to their hard work and passion. There was a moment when my energy flagged, and I had decided to give up on making the complete map of university art museums in America, and one of the students politely reminded me that in fact, it was on the schedule and that we should at least give it a shot. Liz Browne should also be mentioned. A delightful former student who has since become a dear friend, Mrs Browne swooped in right at the end with a pair of fresh eyes, to help give the text one final polish. As usual her careful attention to detail made everything that much better, and then some. Ninja Joe Basile was present during the home stretch as well, and saved the day in Maryland. Ninja Zeitgeist and Ninja of the Internetz, also known as Taylor Horak and Sharayah Cochran, were amazing throughout.
Lastly, we have attempted to make the descriptions on our website as academically rigorous and as timeless as possible but we take full responsibility for any inaccuracies and/or mistakes that may appear in the following pages. Please alert us to any corrections that need to be made so that we can take care of them. In any case, while perusing the directory and other pages, please keep in mind that these institutions are constantly evolving and changing, and so it is inevitable that some of the information we have included here will soon be out of date.
Victoria H.F. Scott, Spring 2011
At Longwood University (from Left to Right):
First Row: Jessie Schwetke, Gabriella Giamichael, Claire Bui, Victoria H.F. Scott
Second Row: Sabrina McGill, Rachel Jones, Maggie Grymes, Aaron Ellrich, Caroline Brandau
Third Row: Amy Chadick, Laine Clark, Sharayah Cochran, Shannon Cruse Ranson, Beranger LeFranc