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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Inspirations: Global Dialogue Through the Arts

July 5, 2023 - May 30, 2025
In Stern Gallery

Inspirations: Global Dialogue Through the Arts

July 5, 2023 - May 30, 2025
In Stern Gallery

Virtual Tour

Today we think of the globe as being connected in an unprecedented way through digital technologies and the internet, but the cultures and civilizations of the world have been linked for millennia by the original World Wide Web: trade. Goods and ideas have circulated widely by land and sea, often beginning with valuable luxury objects. These were traded regionally and across continents, exemplified by Chinese silk in the Roman Empire and Roman glass in the contemporary Han Empire in China. As global markets developed, producers of these goods adapted to the wants and needs of sometimes distant buyers, and local makers worked to respond to the beauty, rarity, and value of these imports with their own creations.

While the conditions for an interconnected world have been created and energized by the darker forces of greed or imperialism—from the land empire of the Mongols to the sea empires of European and American powers—the objects themselves can reflect higher aspirations. Perhaps beginning with an attraction to the rare or “exotic”, the appreciation for and imitation of artwork from distant places points to an openness to new ways of seeing and to new ideas of what is beautiful or moving.

Artistic exchanges between cultures have long been described in terms of influence: Chinese influence on blue and white ceramics made in East or Southeast Asia; European influence on the use of linear perspective in Japanese woodblock prints; the influence of Islamic design on geometric and floral motifs in European art. But doesn’t the term influence suggest a one-way transfer? What about the makers for whom studying and picking and choosing and adapting of source material was a creative act? Perhaps the term inspiration better reflects the realities of this global dialogue.

Organized by

Kevin R. E. Greenwood

Joan L. Danforth Curator of Asian Art


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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