Allen Memorial Art Museum

Allen Memorial Art Museum
Established 1917[1]

Oberlin College
87 North Main Street

Oberlin, Ohio 44074 United States
Coordinates 41°17′37″N 82°13′00″W / 41.293714°N 82.216782°W / 41.293714; -82.216782
Type Art Museum[1]
Director Andria Derstine
  • Andaleeb Badiee Banta (European & American Art)
  • Denise Birkhofer (Modern & Contemporary Art)
  • Kevin R. E. Greenwood (Asian Art)
  • Liliana Milkova (Academic Programs)
  • Jason Trimmer (Education)


Website Allen Memorial Art Museum

The Allen Memorial Art Museum (abbreviated 'AMAM') is located in Oberlin, Ohio and is run by Oberlin College. Founded in 1917, its collection is one of the finest of any college or university museum in the United States, consistently ranking among those of Harvard and Yale.[3] The collection contains over 14,000 works of art.

The AMAM is primarily a teaching museum, and it is a vital cultural resource for the students, faculty, and staff of Oberlin College as well as the surrounding community. Notable strengths include seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish art, nineteenth and early twentieth-century European and contemporary American art, and Asian, European, and American works on paper. The collection is housed in an impressive Italian Renaissance-style building designed by Cass Gilbert and named after its founder, Dr. Dudley Peter Allen (B.A., 1875), a distinguished graduate and trustee of Oberlin College.[1]

The AMAM is also known for its art rental program which enables Oberlin College students to rent works of art by notable artists such as Renoir, Picasso, and Dalí for five dollars a semester.

In 1977, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown designed an addition that represents one of the earliest and finest examples of postmodern architecture in the United States. In 2011, the historic museum underwent a two-year retrofit; after which it was awarded with USGBC LEED Gold certification.[4]


Allen's Central Rotunda, which branches into the Egyptian, Greek and Roman wings.

The Allen Memorial Art Museum has an outstanding collection of more than 12,000 objects – including paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, prints, drawings and photographs – that provide a comprehensive overview of the history of art from a variety of cultures. The collection is particularly strong in European and American paintings and sculpture from the 15th century to today, and has important holdings of Asian paintings, scrolls, sculpture and decorative art, including a large group of Ukiyo-e prints. High-quality African, Pre-Columbian, and Ancient Art is also represented. The museum also houses the Eva Hesse archives, which includes the artist’s notebooks, diaries, photographs and letters, and is proud to oversee, along with the Art Department, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Weltzheimer/Johnson House.

Art Rental

At the beginning of every semester students camp out in front of the north gate of the museum to get first pick of original etchings, lithographs and paintings by artists including Renoir, Warhol, Dalí, and Picasso. For five dollars per semester, students can hang these works on their dorm room walls. The program was started in the 1940s by Ellen H. Johnson, a professor of art at Oberlin, in order to "develop the aesthetic sensibilities of students and encourage ordered thinking and discrimination in other areas of their lives."[5]


  1. 1 2 3 Art Museum, Oberlin College and Conservatory, 2008, retrieved 2012-09-24
  2. Staff Directory, Oberlin College and Conservatory, retrieved 2016-09-05
  3. Art Museum
  5. Angell, Sue (September 26, 2005). "Art Rental Still Going Strong After 60 Years". Oberlin Online: News and Features. (web link:

External links

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Coordinates: 41°17′37″N 82°13′00″W / 41.293714°N 82.216782°W / 41.293714; -82.216782

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