Closed Summer 2024

The Allen Memorial Art Museum is currently closed for improvements.

Learn More

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.

Learn More

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.

Learn More



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.

Learn More


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

View All Resources

Join & Support

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

Learn More

Art Rental

This lending program has been a campus tradition since 1940.

View on EMuseum
Art Rental Ellsworth Kelly (American, 1923–2015), Untitled (Red and Blue), from the portfolio Ten Works, Ten Painters, 1964, color silkscreen.

The Art Rental Program encourages students, faculty, staff, and community members to borrow original works of art each semester for a small fee. Begun in 1940, Oberlin's program is one of the earliest in the U.S. and remains the longest continuously running art-lending project to date.

Art Rental was the brainchild of Ellen H. Johnson, who, after earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art history from Oberlin, was working as the college’s art librarian when she proposed to start a lending program so that students could live with, and learn from, works of art. (Johnson later became a tenured professor and accomplished historian of modern and contemporary art, and curated many important exhibitions at the AMAM over more than three decades at Oberlin.) Johnson started the program with just $700 from the college to purchase and frame reproductions of masterpieces; she quickly realized, however, that she could find affordable prints by modern masters and contemporary artists alike, allowing her to gradually replace the reproductions with original artworks.

Today, the Art Rental Collection—which is distinct from the museum’s collection, thereby allowing works to be loaned for dorm rooms and offices—still adheres to Johnson’s vision. Comprising more than 400 works, the collection features prints by Marc Chagall, Salvador Dalí, Honoré Daumier, Francisco Goya, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, alongside works on paper and multiples by Derrick Adams, Emma Amos, Mel Chin, Jenny Holzer, Alex Katz, Ellsworth Kelly, Yasumasa Morimura, Alice Neel, Raymond Pettibon, Faith Ringgold, and Lorna Simpson, among many others. The AMAM adds to the collection each year through purchase and donation.

Since the inauguration of Art Rental, dozens of artworks have “graduated” into the museum’s permanent collection so that they can be better preserved and used in teaching, and to allow the rental collection to accommodate new works. Graduates of Art Rental include important works by Vito Acconci, Vija Celmins, Marc Chagall, Richard Hamilton, Eva Hesse, Gerhard Richter, Bridget Riley, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Andy Warhol, and Carrie Mae Weems. All such works bear the credit line “Art Rental Collection Transfer,” which can be searched in the collection database.


Support appreciation for original works of art by becoming a museum member.

Join Today

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