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Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College
87 North Main Street, Oberlin, OH 44074
440.775.8665

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Tuesday — Friday 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Saturday — Sunday 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Monday Closed

Exhibitions & Events

The Allen presents changing exhibitions along with engaging guest speakers and public programs.

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Art at the AMAM

The Allen's collection is particularly strong in 17th century Dutch and Flemish painting, Japanese prints, early modern art, African art, and more.

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Explore the full range of museum programs through free events, guided and self-guided tours, and resources for professors and PreK-12 teachers.

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Mission & History

The museum promotes study and interaction with original works of art.

Museum facade with the Katharine Wright Haskell Fountain Museum facade with the Katharine Wright Haskell Fountain in the foreground. Photo by Walter Nowak

Founded in 1917 on the campus of Oberlin College, the Allen Memorial Art Museum is recognized as one of the best academic art museums in the nation. Museum admission has always been free for everyone.

A Message from the Director

Andriaderstine 055

Photo by Tanya Rosen Jones

The beginning of a new year always brings a healthy dose of optimism. Despite the many challenges we still face, it is a time to look forward to what we hope to do, as well as to look back and celebrate all we have achieved. During 2020, the staff of the AMAM rose spectacularly to meet the moment, pivoting to produce virtual programs, develop a new website, and create an augmented reality tour of the galleries accessible to all. Staff members also devised new ways of working with Oberlin College faculty and students, as well as with K-12 students and teachers and the general public. While we look ahead with anticipation to the time we can once again welcome everyone back to the museum, we are grateful for the college’s leadership on COVID testing and building-access protocols, which have kept our campus community, and by extension our town, relatively safe.

It’s a particular pleasure to see some of our long-held traditions move forward in digital formats, even as we eagerly anticipate holding them in person again. The Education Department’s Winter Term training of college students in museum practices will take place in the coming months using Zoom technology, a platform we’ve also used to connect with schoolchildren, and many of you, through our lectures and webinars. Similarly, our Office of Academic Programs, which last year piloted a program that equipped five OC students to give poster sessions on their research at the national conference of the College Art Association (CAA), this year will work with seven students who will make presentations at the CAA’s remotely held conference, a signal honor. Other Oberlin students have completed curatorial assistantships at the museum or participated in a summer internship program, all working closely with museum staff to develop career readiness in an exceptionally difficult job market. 

Museum registrars and preparators brilliantly reenvisioned our long-standing Art Rental practices, enabling students to safely participate in this important Oberlin tradition during the program’s 80th anniversary year. In addition, our collection curators continue their excellent work to creatively formulate exhibitions that showcase the breadth and depth of the museum’s exceptional collection—as always, highlighting works from many of the world’s cultures, bringing in new perspectives, and fostering discussion on challenging topics. Installations for this academic year include one exploring how antiracism efforts can intersect with object interpretation and label writing, involving students in the process. Other exhibitions new this semester relate to humans’ often-fraught relationship with the land and the objectification of women, among other topics. And while the pandemic has caused us to postpone what was to be a signature exhibition this academic year—on the drawings of artist Eva Hesse, whose archive we hold—we are thrilled that the catalogue accompanying the show was named one of the Best Art Books of 2020 by the New York Times.

As we move forward with confidence and good cheer, the staff and I send you our warmest thanks for your support—it is what has enabled all that we do. Please do not hesitate to be in touch with us, and, until we meet again, stay well.

Andria Derstine

John G. W. Cowles Director

View Previous Director's Letters

Statement on Violence and Discrimination targeting Asian-Americans, Asians, and Pacific Islanders

The visual arts community at Oberlin College (Art History, Studio Art, the Allen Memorial Art Museum and the Clarence Ward Art Library) recognize and condemn the racial violence in Atlanta, which is a culmination of ongoing harassment and discrimination targeting the Asian-American, Asian and Pacific Islander communities. A persistent blight on American history, this discrimination has intensified in the last year, amplified by politically motivated racist and xenophobic associations between these communities and Covid-19. These hateful actions and words, and the underlying racial stereotypes that support them, hurt the Oberlin College community, including our students and colleagues; they are antithetical to what we stand for professionally and personally. We commit ourselves to the action of building an Oberlin community that is free of discrimination and harassment, and equitably supportive of all its members. This work builds on the necessary anti-racist work we have begun in the Oberlin visual arts community and are committed to continuing.

With this statement, we echo and affirm an earlier statement by the Comparative American Studies Department, East Asian Studies Department, International Student Resource Center, and Multicultural Resource Center, and another statement by the Presidential Initiative on Racial Equity and Diversity Commission.

We encourage Oberlin students and others to use the resources available in these earlier statements for both education and action, and to reach out to us for support.

March 29, 2021

Message on Racial Justice

The Allen Memorial Art Museum stands in solidarity with communities of color in affirming a belief in justice and equality for all, and in condemning racial injustice. Oberlin College President Ambar has recently announced an initiative to address these issues, and the museum staff look forward to partnering in this with her, with our colleagues, and with our broader community.

I had the honor of spending time with Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, and Lonnie Bunch, then the director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture and now secretary of the Smithsonian, during Oberlin College’s 2017 commencement. At that time, each received honorary degrees, and Walker delivered the address, marking the AMAM’s centennial. Their powerful public statements in recent days on the killing of George Floyd, and of many others, are uplifting calls to action, and for change.

In the museum world, our work is accomplished with and through art. Art has the power to demonstrate, to communicate, to educate, to help, and to heal in difficult and painful situations. The staff and I look forward to welcoming you back to the museum, a site where we can collectively reflect upon and engage in conversations about societal challenges, including racial injustice and inequality, and together work to effect that needed change.

Andria Derstine
John G. W. Cowles Director

June 4, 2020

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