"The Cause of Art is the Cause of the People."
—AMAM Façade (William Morris, 1884)
Founded in 1917, the Allen Memorial Art Museum (AMAM) is recognized today as one of the five best college and university art museums in the United States. Since its beginning, the museum has always been free for everyone.
The collection is housed in an impressive Italian Renaissance-style building designed by Cass Gilbert and named after Dr. Dudley Peter Allen, a distinguished 1875 graduate of Oberlin College. Dr. Allen and his wife Elisabeth Severance Allen (later Prentiss) were the principal benefactors of the new museum.
The elegant Gilbert galleries are filled with extraordinary old master and 19th-century paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts.
In 1977, a gallery for Modern and Contemporary art was added to the Cass Gilbert building. Designed by the architectural firm of Venturi and Rauch, the gallery was funded by Ruth Coates Roush (OC 1934) and dedicated to professor of art Ellen Johnson (OC 1933).