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Masks required. Oberlin College strongly encourages all visitors to be vaccinated, with a booster.

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

Hours

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

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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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Support for the museum continues our tradition of bringing art to the people.

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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

We gladly noted increasing visits to the amam during 2021, and, despite continued challenges, we look forward to welcoming more people in 2022. Exhibitions will certainly be a draw, especially an important retrospective of the drawings of Eva Hesse. Comprised entirely of works from the Allen, it was on view in Wiesbaden, New York, and Vienna in 2019, and was slated to be shown back home here in fall 2020. As with so many things, Covid upended our plans. But at last this survey, just part of the indispensable resource that is the Allen’s holdings of Hesse’s work, can be appreciated—indeed relished—in Oberlin.

Other exhibitions celebrate new gifts of art and the 50th anniversary of the formation at Oberlin of the collaborative dance form Contact Improvisation; still others interrogate ideas of identity, invention, place, and belonging in works spanning the 16th to 21st centuries. Looking ahead, we’re proud again to be part of the FRONT Triennial through a summer installation by Ahmet Öğüt that calls into question notions of activism, power, and value, even as it gives a prominent role to works in the amam collection.  

Although we’ve become used to looking for silver linings among grey clouds these past years, sometimes there simply are none; that is unfortunately the case with regard to several poignant transitions in the AMAM family. Mary Louise VanDyke, founder of the Volunteer Guild, passed away in December, six months after her husband, Don. Both were 1947 Oberlin College graduates and beloved community members. In founding the guild in 2007, Mary Louise added greatly to the AMAM’s reach, enhancing the visitor experience through a welcoming presence and myriad other projects. Her work was tireless, from nimble organization of decorations and friendly service at Tuesday Teas, to recruitment of members and cheerful advocacy. She was irreplaceable, and will be deeply missed. We also mourn Annabel Perlik ’49, a devoted museum supporter and donor. I had the great pleasure of traveling with Annabel on a college-sponsored trip to Italy in 2011, and fondly recall her lively curiosity and conversation. 

A somewhat less melancholy “passing” but a sad one nonetheless: Catherine Klima Gletherow, the museum’s advancement liaison, retired on February 4. Catherine’s considerable contributions to the Allen include developing planned giving opportunities, raising monies for endowments and projects, stewarding donors, and promoting museum programs. During her 23 years at Oberlin, including some 15 as our liaison, she championed the museum’s role on campus and within the alumni family. We are much the better for her work. We also have had transitions on the staff; Megan Harding, the museum’s communications manager, is retiring as well, after more than 15 years with the college and nine at the AMAM. Among the fruits of her labor are these newsletters, her deft editing, and her design of exhibition graphics. Other transitions were the departures of Administrative Assistant Sally Moffitt and Museum Security Officer Douglas Weaver.

On a happier note, the Allen was chosen by Master Drawings New York as this year’s academic museum partner. For this annual gathering of leading art dealers, Curator Alexandra Letvin mounted an online exhibition and gave a talk on the AMAM’s collection of European drawings. As we look forward to more in-person events, we appreciate connecting with you through such opportunities, and through the virtual events the amam’s education department continues to organize. 

I hope we’ll see you soon—online, or in the galleries.

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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