Closed Summer 2024

The Allen Memorial Art Museum is currently closed for improvements.

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


Closed all week

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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Provenance Research

Image Licensing

Art Donations


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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Find podcasts, activities, and information for all age groups.

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Join & Support

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

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Our Buildings

The museum's architecture alone is worth a visit.

Front porch of the 1917 building Front porch of the 1917 building designed by Cass Gilbert. Photo by Ralph Lieberman

The Allen features buildings by architects Cass Gilbert and Robert Venturi, combining traditional and postmodern styles.

The Cause of Art is the Cause of the People. 
—William Morris, 1884 (museum façade)

The buildings that house the Allen Memorial Art Museum’s collection are no less engaging than the works of art within them. With an exterior that includes both Renaissance and postmodern styles, the architecture expresses a mission of increasing appreciation for art of many cultures and time periods.

Cass Gilbert Building, 1917

The original museum building was designed by architect Cass Gilbert, and includes painted and mosaic decorations by Frederick J. Wiley and ironwork by Samuel Yellin. Architectural styles ranging from neoclassical to Gothic served as models for Cass Gilbert's several building programs at Oberlin College, including the museum. In his plans for the Allen, Gilbert employed the vocabulary of Tuscan Renaissance architecture to evoke European art of the past in an inspirational structure that originally housed not only the museum but also the college’s art department and art library. The central gallery features a richly adorned ceiling and clerestory that underwent cleaning and conservation in 2014–15.

The decorations, commissioned by Gilbert in emulation of French Renaissance ceilings and executed by Wiley, include canvas paintings of musical instruments, foliage, animals, and boats, integrated within 100 plaster “coffers.” At the clerestory level, are other paintings and stanzas from a poem by the 19th century transcendentalist Christopher Pearse Cranch.

Robert Venturi Addition, 1977

By the 1960s, the museum and art department were in need of expansion. The search for an architect was led by distinguished professor Richard Spear, who became museum director in 1972. The committee unanimously chose Robert Venturi, whose addition has been hailed as one of the earliest and finest examples of postmodern architecture in the United States.

In its complex dialogue with the Cass Gilbert building and its innovative use of ornamentation, the Venturi addition was pivotal in the new appreciation of architectural context and symbol that developed during the 1970s and 80s. The addition includes the Ellen Johnson Gallery (named for the professor of modern and contemporary art history), while much of the building is dedicated to the college’s art department, comprising classrooms, studios, offices, and the art library. From 2009 to 2011, museum director Stephanie Wiles oversaw a renovation of both the Gilbert building and the Ellen Johnson Gallery. The project focused on major improvements to the heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems, as well as greater art storage space, improved lighting, and energy efficiency.


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Allen Memorial Art Museum Closed for the Summer

Starting May 27, the Allen Memorial Art Museum will close for the summer in the lead up to the completion of Oberlin College and Conservatory's Sustainable Infrastructure Program (SIP). Learn More