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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Student Work & Research

Starting with small questions about artworks, Oberlin students find that looking closely at a painting or sculpture can lead to big discoveries in class and beyond.

Current students assist with special events at the museum Current students assist with special events at the museum, such as monthly Allen After Hours receptions. Photo by Sara Morgan

Student Research 

The AMAM offers unique opportunities for museum- and object-based research. If you are conducting research on museum objects for a class paper or project, our curators can meet with you one-on-one to help you learn more about the work and object-based research. As relevant to your research question(s), this could include a file or object viewing with the curator. Please email Academic Programs with any questions, or to make an appointment.

How to research museum objects

  • Museums have systems of storing and organizing collection information, which often vary from museum to museum. To make sure that you have access to the information you need and the tools to interpret it, please plan to meet with the curator of academic programs or the relevant collections curator early in your research process. To schedule an appointment, please email the curatorial assistant in academic programs.

  • Some objects in the collections have been heavily researched, while others may have very little information gathered about them. The curator will help you understand the information available in our curatorial files and may provide a suggested bibliography or comparative works to consider. 

The visual arts become a source of inquiry, an inspiration, and a means to expand discussions begun in the classroom, lab, or studio.

During your time as an Oberlin student, you may be surprised when your chemistry or TIMARA course comes to the museum instead of your classroom, lab, or studio. Museum staff and Oberlin faculty members collaborate to support critical inquiry and analysis through multimodal learning centered on works of art.

At the AMAM, you’ll find that art can be “read” from a range of disciplinary vantage points to deepen your understanding of a topic, historical period, or theme. Looking closely at and deciphering a work of art develops skills—such as observation and evidentiary reasoning—that are essential to other fields. Artworks might inspire your own creations or lead to new ways of looking at your subject and yourself.

“Much like working in a lab, museum visits are hands on. They require active problem solving and teamwork. They push students of any discipline to consider the importance of continually asking questions, of approaching questions from different angles, and of understanding the interconnectivity of everything we do.”
—Lodewijck Kuijpers OC ’15, double major, neuroscience and studio art

In the Office of Academic Programs, we put collaborative meaning-making at the center of learning. We believe that looking slowly and carefully allows new paths of questioning to unfold, which might just be the start of your next big project. The Allen’s collection is here to be used in your academic work in a variety of ways—in class papers, as inspiration for musical compositions, or as the source of a digital exhibition. No matter what major you choose, you may have the opportunity to complete a capstone or honors project that centers on objects in the Allen collection.

Examples of student work

The museum offers many resources to students working on projects. Curators are available to help you navigate and deepen your understanding of the collection. We also offer appointments to view objects and files, when appropriate.

Learn more about researching the collection. 

Presenting your work internally 

At Oberlin, presenting your object-centered work begins in the classroom, but it can grow in unexpected ways, whether you’re performing at one of our Allen After Hours events, working with second-graders as a docent tour leader, or giving a public talk in our galleries.

Presenting your work externally 

Oberlin’s Office of Undergraduate Research has long supported Oberlin students who are exploring their intellectual interests through intensive research. In recent years, the Allen has been the “research laboratory” for several Mellon Mays fellows. With more than 15,000 works in our collection, there are lots of opportunities for undergraduate students to develop original research topics. Oberlin students have shared research at regional and national conferences. In 2020, five art history majors presented projects related to the AMAM at the largest art history conference in the United States, with financial support from the museum.

Winter Term

Each year, the museum offers a winter-term option focused on museum education. We also serve as a meeting point for all students undertaking winter-term projects exploring museology and the arts.

The Office of Academic Programs occasionally sponsors group and individual winter-term projects on the collection, museology, or the museum profession. To discuss your ideas, please contact the curator of academic programs.

A Spotlight on Student Research

Oberlin College students often research AMAM objects and museum practices as part of their coursework, bringing new insights to our collection. Each year, one or more students are selected to present their research to the public during the museum’s annual A Spotlight on Student Research event, part of our Tuesday Tea series. Student speakers receive mentorship from the Allen's curators on presenting scholarly talks for a public audience.

Watch the 2023 presentations.


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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