A Museum for Oberlin

September 6 – December 23, 2011

The 2010-2011 renovation of the Allen Memorial Art Museum and the publication of the museum’s first highlights catalogue provides an opportunity to celebrate the development of Oberlin’s remarkable collection. Long before the AMAM was founded, many individual works of art and entire collections were given to Oberlin College to support the educational goals of this very special institution. When the museum opened its doors in 1917, original artworks were installed alongside plaster casts of famous antique and Renaissance sculptures.

This exhibition brings into focus major milestones in collecting for Oberlin by showing a selection of paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs along with letters and photographs that capture the lively personalities of the people who gave art to the museum. Many donors’ names appear multiple times on object labels in the galleries downstairs as well, providing a fuller picture of their generosity.

Today, the Allen Memorial Art Museum boasts an outstanding collection that is nearly encyclopedic in scope and representative of a wide variety of cultures. As can be seen from new acquisitions featured here and in the galleries downstairs, the collection is continuously being developed. As the AMAM nears its centenary in 2017, we thank our donors for their generous contributions, which are appreciated every day and used extensively for teaching, research, exhibitions, and programs both at home in Oberlin and at other museums in the U.S. and abroad.

Click here to view archived blog entries on the "Museum for Oberlin" exhibition.


Nicholas Alden Brooks (American, active 1880–1904)
Handbill of the Play at the Night of Lincoln's Assassination, 1893
Oil on panel (oak)
Gift of Charles F. Olney
AMAM 1904.593