UM Museum Named to List of 51 ‘Most Astounding University Museums’

Facility in national spotlight for fourth time in five years

The University of Mississippi Museum has been named one of EdSmart’s ‘51 Most Astounding University Museums.’ Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Museum and its extensive collection of art, scientific equipment and Greek and Roman antiquities are in the national spotlight once again, this time being named to EDsmart’s list of “51 Most Astounding University Museums.”

The latest recognition is the fourth time in five years the museum has been named to an esteemed ranking of national academic museums. It came in at No. 17 on the EDsmart list, one spot ahead of Princeton University’s facility. Harvard University’s Museum of Natural History ranked No. 1 on the list. 

The museum was the highest ranked Southeastern Conference institution on the list and only one of three SEC schools mentioned. Auburn University’s Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Arts was listed as No. 22, and the University of Florida’s Museum of Natural History came in at No. 26.

Robert Saarnio, director of the University Museum and Historic Houses, is proud of the recognition, which he said is entirely a credit to the “brilliant professional staff and the ecosystem of support and goodwill” that surrounds the museum on campus and in the community.

“The exceptional strengthening of the museum in recent years is notably a tribute to highly supportive university leadership, to the Friends of the Museum board and all of our members, and of course to our team here for such dedicated commitment to our well-being,” Saarnio said. “Suffice to say, the campus-based museums that appear in these rankings are those whose parent institutions understand the power of arts and culture to enrich and augment a teaching, research and service mission.”

EDsmart said it recognized university museums that provide a gateway to the past and to culture, and choose to house important objects from science, art and more. Each and every object weaves a thread into a tapestry of humankind’s history, EDsmart said. These museums also add research opportunities to the universities they inhabit. 

“The University of Mississippi Museum is located in Oxford and offers a wide variety of collections, which include 19th-century scientific instruments, such as telescopes and models,” EDsmart said. “You can also find a collection of American Art, which includes items from Mark Tobey, John Marin, Arthur G. Dove and many others.

“You will also find several paintings, folk art and more at this museum. One of the highlights this museum offers is William Faulkner’s home, Rowan Oak.” 

Earlier this year, the UM Museum was named to College Rank’s 50 Most Amazing College Museums in the country, which was then the third time the museum appeared on national rankings lists in five years – a first in the museum’s 78-year history.

The museum provides the campus and Oxford community with unique collections, annually rotating temporary exhibitions and acclaimed educational programs for lifelong learners of all ages. Its programming for children, schools and families reaches 14,000 young north Mississippians each year.

The Seymour Lawrence Collection of American Art includes an exceptionally significant Georgia O’Keeffe painting, as well as work from other 20th century artists including Arthur Dove and Marsden Hartley.

Students learn about Barlow’s Planetarium at the UM Museum. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

The museum’s collection of Greek and Roman antiquities contains more than 2,000 sculptures, terra cotta and bronze artworks, decorated pottery and coins, and a variety of artifacts that date from 1500 B.C. to 300 A.D. The majority of this internationally renowned collection was donated to the university by archaeologist and professor David M. Robinson in 1958.

The Millington-Barnard Collection of Scientific Instruments originated with the university in the 19th century. About 500 instruments that were used to teach Ole Miss students from 1848 to 1861 are housed in the museum.

The museum also has a collection of Southern folk art from the late 19th to 20th centuries by artists using a range of nontraditional materials. The permanent collection contains work by Theora Hamblett, Sulton Rogers, James “Son” Thomas and Pecolia Warner, among many others.

Also part of the museum are historic houses, including Rowan Oak, home of Nobel- and Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Faulkner. This iconic site has attracted visitors from all 50 states and 58 different countries in a recent 12-month period.

Besides its collections, the museum also offers many educational opportunities for members of the community through lectures, adult studio workshops, family activity days, children’s art classes and summer programs.

For more information about the museum, its programs and scheduling a visit, go to http://museum.olemiss.edu.

‘Where the Roots Rise’ Reflects Connection of Humanity to Natural Life

Latest UM Museum exhibit showcases creative photographs from alumna Jaime Aelavanthara

‘Mother Moth,’ a photograph by Jaime Aelavanthara, is among many of her pieces in the ‘Where the Roots Rise’ exhibit at University Museum. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The distance between humanity and nature is much smaller than we realize, and the latest exhibit at the University of Mississippi Museum serves as a reminder of that perception.

“Where the Roots Rise” by photographer Jaime Aelavanthara is a series of photographs that have undergone photochemical blueprinting known as the cyanotype process. The photographs are set in natural areas of life, death, growth and decay in the natural landscapes of several Southern states.

“Experiences outdoors lend me an awe-filled view on the world, which is a feeling I am interested in the viewer experiencing when they see the exhibition,” she said. “As children, we tend to see the world as a magical place, an outlook that is often lost in adulthood.”

Aelavanthara’s work chronicles the relationship of a woman and her natural environment. The cyanotype process transforms the colorful landscapes and subjects of the photos into patterns and textures in the images. Her addition of tea staining dulls the blueness of the images, adding warmth.

The combination of these processes with the printing on Japanese Okawara paper, which is vulnerable to tears and wrinkles, displays the deterioration and impermanence of nature.

The exhibit opens to the public today (July 24) in the museum’s Lower Skipwith Gallery, in conjunction with the Oxford Arts Crawl. It will be available for viewing through Dec. 1.

Aelavanthara, an Ole Miss alumnus, earned her bachelor’s degree in imaging arts in 2011. She grew up in rural Mississippi, which inspired her creative work and illustrates the connection she formed with nature.

From 2015 to 2017, she was an instructor of art in the UM Department of Art and Art History. Aelavanthara is an assistant professor of art and design at the University of Tampa.

The fine art photographer specializes in alternative photographic processes, which she learned at UM.

“The photographs capture a sense of place while exploring how we are all connected – plants, animals, humans,” she said. “A lot of the photographs are self-portraits, constructed with various found objects collected from nature. I am contemplating metaphor and how I can give new life to an ordinary object we might encounter in the everyday: a turtle shell, plant life, an animal bone.

“Ultimately, I’m interested in the human condition and what it is that connects us. There is also an element of myth and a lyrical nature to the photographs, an influence I attribute to the vibrant literary community of Oxford and Ole Miss.”

Her work has been exhibited around the country at venues including the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, the Center for Fine Art Photography in Colorado and the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson. This exhibit showcases work that has never been previously displayed.

“It is rewarding to know I’m showing work at the place where it all started, remembering the quality experience I had in the art department at Ole Miss and the late nights spent in the darkroom or meandering Meek Hall,” she said.

“The University Museum is thrilled to welcome back to Oxford Jaime Aelavanthara, whose ethereal photography in ‘Where the Roots Rise’ consists of exquisite tea-stained cyanotypes, set in the swamps and woods of Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida,” said Robert Saarnio, the museum’s director.

“Our University Museum is in a period of celebration and exploration of the imaging arts, whether from our permanent collection or the work of a notably experimental and nationally emerging photographer such as Ms. Aelavanthara. We welcome our campus and regional community to experience this innovative assemblage of photographic prints.”

The museum will host Aelavanthara for an artist talk at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 22. An opening reception of the exhibit and an artist-led gallery walkthrough is set for 6 p.m. Aug. 23.

UM Conference Explores ‘Faulkner and Slavery’

Annual event to draw hundreds from around globe to Oxford, region

OXFORD, Miss. – “Faulkner and Slavery” is the theme for the University of Mississippi’s 45th annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference, coming up July 22-26.

Five days of lectures, panels, tours, exhibits and other presentations will take up the question, “What did slavery mean in the life, ancestry, environment, imagination and career of William Faulkner?” Besides four keynote lectures, the conference program will include panel presentations, guided daylong tours of north Mississippi and the Delta, and sessions on “Teaching Faulkner.”

Speakers include Edward Baptist of Cornell University, a distinguished historian of slavery and American capitalism addressing Faulkner’s work for the first time; John T. Matthews of Boston University, a renowned Faulkner scholar; Tim Armstrong, author of a book on the logic of American slavery in 19th-century literature; and Stephen M. Best, a scholar of 19th-century African-American literature and law who has traced how the legal dilemmas surrounding the enslaved person have informed American law, literature and popular culture throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

“Obviously, the South that Faulkner writes about, even in his novels and stories of the 20th century, is to a significant degree a product of African slavery,” said Jay Watson, Howry Professor of Faulkner Studies who serves as conference director. “What makes this topic even more timely than it would ordinarily be, however, is that this August marks the beginning of the 400th year since African slavery was introduced into the English-speaking colonies of North America.”

This year’s conference program features several events organized for the first time, Watson said.

“There will be a session on the history of slavery at the Robert Sheegog residence (also known as Rowan Oak) featuring architectural historians and archaeologists who have extensively researched and studied the site,” he said. “Another session will focus on the history of slavery at the University of Mississippi, which is, of course, an important setting in several Faulkner novels and loomed large in his local world.

“A third session will provide deep background on histories of slavery in Oxford, Lafayette County and north Mississippi. Our hope is that these sessions will give our audience deeper insight into the actual legacies of slavery that Faulkner grappled with in transforming his north Mississippi environment into art.”

A new guided tour is also being offered. Led by Jodi Skipper, UM associate professor of anthropology, this tour focuses on the “Behind the Big House” project, which is a research and continuing education-oriented program that focuses on slave quarters and other structures where slaves lived and worked in Holly Springs.

“This tour won’t focus on Faulkner sites and legacies so much as sites and legacies of African slavery and African-American history in one particularly well-documented and preserved north Mississippi environment,” Watson said.

The conference begin at 1 p.m. Sunday (July 22) with a reception at the University Museum, after which the academic program will open with two keynote addresses, followed by a buffet supper on the grounds of Rowan Oak. Over the next four days, a busy schedule of lectures and panels also includes an afternoon cocktail reception, a picnic at Rowan Oak, guided tours and a closing party on the afternoon of July 26.

Throughout the conference, the university’s J.D. Williams Library will display Faulkner books, manuscripts, photographs and memorabilia. The University Press of Mississippi will exhibit Faulkner books published by university presses throughout the United States, and collaborators on the Digital Yoknapatawpha Project, a database and digital mapping project at the University of Virginia, will present updates on its progress at a special conference session.

To register or for more information, visit http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/events/faulkner/.

‘UnstillLife’ Exhibit at UM Museum Showcases Work of 38 Painters

Collection encourages viewers to re-examine ordinary and overlooked objects

‘Transitory Spaces: Flower and Fragments,’ by UM professor Philip Jackson, is part of a private collection. The painting is on display at the UM Museum as part of ‘The UnstillLife’ exhibit. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – A still life painting exhibition that goes beyond the ordinary is open at the University of Mississippi Museum. “The UnstillLife,” a collection by the painters’ association Zeuxis, features the many possibilities of still life with an eccentric take on the perspectives of 38 artists.

The museum will host an opening reception for the exhibit at 6 p.m. Tuesday (May 15).

“The University Museum is exceptionally pleased to exhibit this remarkably wide range of still life paintings, in the exhibition developed by the Zeuxis organization and called to our attention by art faculty member colleague Philip Jackson,” said Robert Saarnio, museum director.

“Notable for the definition-broadening nature of the show in its inclusion of diverse styles that one might never think of as falling with the ‘still life’ category, the show is hung beautifully in our Temporary Exhibition Galleries.”

“The UnstillLife” exhibit has been displayed at galleries in Wilmington, Delaware; New York City; and Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Jackson, UM associate professor of art and a member of Zeuxis, was instrumental in bringing the exhibit to Oxford.

“I knew the quality of the work that would be presented and thought it would be a great opportunity for our community to see,” he said. “This exhibition revitalizes the genre with fresh interpretation.

“The uniqueness of this exhibition is about the clarity in which we see things and understand them. They are not your grandmother’s still life. Each artist reaches for ways to see anew their small world within our fast-paced culture while redefining the use of the still life.”

Still life painting has always been a second-hand genre and is rarely recognized for its contributions to our culture, Jackson said, noting that he hopes viewers will take a closer look at the works presented.

“I hope our viewers are able to see into the intimate world of these artists,” he said. “It’s a plea to re-examine the world around us, paying close attention to the overlooked.”

Jackson, who has focused on painting still life for 18 years, has two paintings in the exhibit from his “Transitory Spaces” series, both of which are now in private collections, where he examines the fleeting change of life.

In conjunction with the exhibit, Jackson will host a community lecture on “Still Life for the 21st Century” June 7 at the museum. The event is free and open to the public.

He also will host an adult studio workshop, “Painting the Light,” on June 15-16. The workshop costs $35 per person and includes a gallery talk and sketching session on Friday evening, followed by a still life painting studio session Saturday. It’s open for adults of all experience levels, and online registration is available at http://museum.olemiss.edu/asw/.

Zeuxis was founded in 1994 by artist Phyllis Floyd along with several colleagues, including Rita Baragona and Tim Kennedy. Work by all three artists are part of the exhibit.

“In the 1990s sometime, I began to assess the condition of still life painting in the climate of the post-modernist art world,” Floyd said. “Prospects looked bleak. It was time to rally my forces, and I drew in still life painters one by one with the object of mounting group exhibitions.”

Since then, Zeuxis exhibitions have appeared in more than 50 galleries and museums across the country. For more information about the association, visit http://www.zeuxis.us/.

The UM Museum, at the corner of University Avenue and Fifth Street, is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Admission to the museum and all its exhibits is free. For more information, visit http://museum.olemiss.edu/.

Registration Open for UM Museum Summer Camps

Weeklong sessions available for children from preschool to middle school

Elementary school students create their own artwork in a summer camp at the UM Museum. Registration is open for a variety of weeklong camps. Photo by Nathan Latil/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Registration is open for a series of educational day camps for children of all ages throughout June and July at the University of Mississippi Museum.

Each weeklong camp session is broken into age groups to teach children about art, art history and the museum while allowing them to create their own works of art inspired by exhibitions in the galleries. For museum members at the Family level or above, the cost per week is $65 for each participant. For nonmembers, the cost is $85.

“Summer is an exciting time, but it’s also a time where many children face summer learning loss,” said Emily McCauley, curator of education. “Our goal at the museum is to engage children through art and educational experiences to combat that learning loss in a fun and innovative way.”

The camps are not just for Oxford residents, but also for other children who visit family members in Oxford during the summer months.

“Our camps provide a fun, enriching morning activity during their visit” McCauley said.

Here is the full schedule of camps:                            

For Children in Preschool and Entering Kindergarten

Mini Masters Explorer Camp, 9-11 a.m. June 25-29 – This camp for ages 3 to 5 allows children to create their own masterpieces inspired by museum art and toddler stories. All children much be accompanied by an adult, but one guardian can supervise multiple children. Coffee and snacks will be provided for parents and guardians.

For Children Entering Grades 1-5

Art from the South, 9 a.m. to noon June 4-7 – Students will learn about historical and modern artists from the American South and will create art inspired by the work of those artists.

People, Places and Things in Art, 9 a.m. to noon June 11-15 – Besides learning about the museum’s collections and experimenting with painting, sculpture and other art forms, students will learn about nouns in art.

Art Discovery: Science and Animals, 9 a.m. to noon June 18-22 – Each day will begin with a science experiment and students will create their own works inspired by chemistry, biology, space and other areas of science.

Myths, Monsters and Faraway Lands, 9 a.m. to noon July 9-13 – Students will explore ancient civilizations, mythology and stories from cultures around the world inspired by the museum’s David M. Robinson Greek and Roman Antiquities Collection.

Photography and Storytelling in Art, 9 a.m. to noon July 16-20 – Participants will learn about the storytelling elements of art and photography. Students will explore forms such as photography, painting and book illustration.

For Children Entering Grades 6-8

All About Art: Middle School Edition, 9 a.m. to noon July 23-27 – Middle school students with artistic experience of all levels will have opportunities to experiment with drawing, illustrating, painting, sculpting and mixed media through a week of activities inspired by the museum’s collections.

All art supplies and snacks are included in the cost. A limited number of scholarships are also available. Families can request scholarship information by contacting McCauley at 662-915-7205 or esdean@olemiss.edu.

Space for each camp is limited and registration is available only online. Parents can register their children here.

For more information, visit http://museum.olemiss.edu/summercamp/.

Museum to Host ‘Let’s Move’ Family Activity Day

Drop-in session features trail walk, activities for all ages

Children can explore art and nature and enjoy the outdoors as part of the UM Museum’s ‘Let’s Move’ Family Activity Day. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Museum is hosting its latest “Let’s Move” Family Activity Day this weekend.

The drop-in event is set for 10 a.m. to noon Saturday (May 5) and will combine art and nature throughout the activities, designed for children of all ages. The event is free and open to the public.

Children will get to participate in artistic activities and explore nature along the Bailey’s Woods Trail.

“We hated to have to cancel in the fall due to rain, but we are really looking forward to using our imaginations to travel around the world as we explore the trail,” said Emily McCauley, the museum’s curator of education.

The museum has partnered with RebelWell to provide free Oxsicles, healthy frozen treats made with fresh ingredients and sweetened with honey, to the first 100 people to arrive.

The theme is inspired by the Let’s Move campaign launched in 2010 by first lady Michelle Obama to combat childhood obesity. The museum has been participating in the initiative since 2011, using interactive exhibits and outdoor spaces to engage children.

A parent or guardian must accompany all children during the program. The museum’s Family Activity Days are sponsored by Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi and an Ignite Ole Miss crowdfunding campaign.

For more information, contact McCauley at esdean@olemiss.edu or 662-915-7073.

UM Museum Opens ‘Ruin is a Secret Oasis’ Exhibit

Artist Maysey Craddock draws inspiration from structures throughout the South

The exhibit ‘Ruin is a Secret Oasis,’ now open at the UM Museum, displays artist Maysey Craddock’s work including this piece, titled ‘Somewhere South of Violet.’ Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – A new exhibit featuring artist-transformed images of ruined structures throughout the South is open at the University of Mississippi Museum.

“Ruin is a Secret Oasis,” by artist Maysey Craddock, references images of objects and places throughout the region. Craddock said she is drawn to mysterious traces of memories, and her pieces seek the sense of place inspired by these sites and work to reflect a story of change.

“I believe ruin, in the sense that it is a place and moment where the traces of human action are falling into the inevitable, is a constant progress that is nature,” Craddock said. “There is a lineage of this in art history and the idea that ruin presents a space for contemplation and collapses time.

“It is, to me, stillness, haunted, history, memory, nature, reclamation, collapse, re-forming, ghost, possibility. In ruin, I find an oasis, a world within our world that is a hush of layers of time and experience.”

Craddock’s work uses opaque pigments in water that are thickened with a binding substance, known as gouache. These intricate works, based on her own photographs of ruined structures near Memphis, Oxford and the Gulf Coast, allow her to explore the fleeting and transitory nature of each landscape.

“In the studio, the photographs are a way for me to continue to be intimate with the landscape, to dive into the wild spaces, find the magic of small moments or openings in the vegetation,” she said. “When I translate the images into drawing, I am re-forming the image to my own hand, distancing it from the photograph and therefore from any kind of literal recording of the original scene.”

The photograph is just a starting point for Craddock, as she also takes time to think about the hues and atmosphere during her physical experience at the site. A line drawing is made from each photograph and then transferred via carbon paper onto a handmade substrate of sewn-together paper bags.

“The use of found paper provides a terrain for the image, retains an object-ness that underscores the image itself,” she said. “In a way, this constructing of the material from found or discarded fragments mirrors the content of the work.

“I paint ruins, on materials that are pieced together from other tiny ruins.

Craddock said one of the most satisfying experiences she has as an artist is when someone sees something out in his or her daily experience in a different way, which in turn affects the way he or she encounters the natural world.

“They would not have noticed it in such a thoughtful way before, but something about seeing my work went with them out into the world, and they slowed down and paid attention to something that was invisible before,” she said. “My work does the same thing for me. It teaches me to be observant, to be awake and aware when I am moving through the world.

“I think the best art continues on with the viewer afterwards. It re-contextualizes how we experience what we see, literally broadening our horizons.”

Maysey Craddock’s work, including this painting titled ‘Gravity Sky,’ is on exhibit at the UM Museum. Submitted photo

Craddock earned degrees from Tulane University and the Maine College of Art, and most of her time is divided between two studios – one in Memphis, Tennessee and one on the Alabama Gulf Coast. Her work has been exhibited across the United States and in Germany and is featured in permanent collections at the Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis and the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock.

Besides artwork, Craddock has worked with other artists and the regional nonprofit grant organization ArtsMemphis to create its inaugural program of grants for individual artists.

“The University of Mississippi Museum is exceptionally honored to be exhibiting the work of Memphis artist Maysey Craddock, a painter we have long admired and whose works in the show ‘Ruin is a Secret Oasis’ have a particularly compelling and evocative power,” said Robert Saarnio, museum director.

“Ms. Craddock has assembled for this show a group of paintings dealing with the idea of architectural ruins and their reclamation in the landscape. She is an artist of great skill, unique creative process and extraordinary conceptual depth – bringing works here to Oxford that we are certain our audiences will find fascinating to view and reflect upon.”

An opening reception for the exhibit is set for 6-8 p.m. April 19. Craddock also will deliver a guest artist lecture and gallery walk-through at 6 p.m. May 3 at the museum. For more information about the museum, visit http://museum.olemiss.edu/.

Museum Hosts Buie Babies Stroller Tour

Children ages 2 and under can participate in playtime activities with their families

Children under 2 participate in museum activities with their parents. The museum invites families and children to the Buie Babies Stroller Tour on Saturday. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Museum hosts its Buie Babies Museum Stroller Tour from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday (April 7).

Families with babies and toddlers up to age 2 are invited to participate in the tours, which begin at 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. The tour will explore the museum’s latest exhibit by artist Maysey Craddock, “Ruin is a Secret Oasis.”

“We will be sharing the children’s games paintings of Theora Hamblett and exploring sensory play in our newest exhibition of work by Memphis-based artist Maysey Craddock,” said Emily McCauley, the museum’s curator of education. “This is a fun opportunity for even our youngest learners to come and explore the museum.”

Other entertainment will be offered, including playtime activities with toys from the LOU Excel by 5 Coalition’s Lending Library.

The event is free and open to everyone. The museum will also provide snack time for the children and treats and coffee for parents.

For more information, visit http://museum.olemiss.edu/.             

UM Museum Opens First Gallery in Renovated Mary Buie Wing

Project is one of the most significant expansions in the museum's 78-year history

Dozens of pottery items, including many artifacts that were not previously on display, are housed in the renovated Buie West Gallery of the University Museum. Photo by Marlee Crawford/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Museum has reopened the first of four galleries in its Mary Buie wing, which is undergoing reinstallation to house the David M. Robinson Memorial Collection of Greek and Roman antiquities.

The original Mary Buie Museum, which became a connecting wing upon the opening of the current museum building in 1977, has been vacant for nearly eight years. The reopened Buie West Gallery serves as an introduction to the ancient Mediterranean world.

“The University Museum is exceptionally proud to launch this spring the first of a succession of openings of the galleries of our original 1939 Mary Buie building, now dedicated not only to a reinstallation of these internationally-renowned antiquities collections, but to their reinterpretation – telling their stories in freshly reimagined ways, under the exceptional leadership of collections manager Melanie Munns,” said Robert Saarnio, museum director.

“This is a signature moment in the museum’s 78-year history, greatly augmenting access to these stunning artifacts and transforming the museum’s national profile in the process.”

The gallery contains artifacts not previously on display from Egypt and the Near East, and from ancient Europe. Another section features pottery arranged chronologically from the Bronze Age to the Hellenistic period. A large timeline and multiple maps aid in providing historical and geographical context.

“They give viewers a visual timeline of pottery shape, painting and motifs,” antiquities collections manager Melanie Munns said. “My goal as curator and designer was to use a hierarchy of text and incorporated imagery to increase context and discovery.”

The gallery is open to the public and an opening reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday (March 27) as part of the Oxford Art Crawl.

The museum’s antiquities collection at the museum is widely regarded as the finest in the South and one of the best in the country. Most of the collection, containing more than 2,000 artifacts dating from 2500 B.C. to 500 A.D., was part of the personal collection of university professor David M. Robinson.

Because of space constraints, less than 10 percent of the collection is on display. Once the reinstallation is complete in all four galleries, much more of the collection will be accessible to the public, and the variety of objects will paint a better picture of the ancient lives of Mediterranean people.

This project has been ongoing for several years. This portion of the museum was closed in 2010 for renovation and structural repairs. In 2012, the museum received a donation from Marjorie Peddle

The University Museum has reopened the Buie West Gallery, which houses artifacts from the David M. Robinson Greek and Roman Antiquities Collection that dates back to 2500 B.C. Photo by Marlee Crawford/Ole Miss Communications

and family to begin a reinstallation of the collection in those galleries.

Munns has been overseeing the project since 2013.

“Initially we planned an overall theme as a staff with the classics department,” she said.
“At the time, we felt we had the inability to fabricate casework or design elements on our own, so at the beginning of this project we focused heavily on fund- and friend-raising.”

In 2016, the Friends of the Museum allocated some of the funds raised at its annual Harvest Supper to the reinstallation project. With this gift, the museum was able to move from the planning phase to the fabrication phase, even though the overall funding goal had not been reached.

“We decided to open each gallery in phases as funding permitted,” Munns said.

The museum hired preparator Taylor Kite, who began to fabricate standard museum cases, in the fall of 2016.

“His hiring allowed me to make some changes to my approach in design and curation, no longer having the same limitations of prefabrication and standard sizing,” Munns said. “I also was able to find local and affordable options for additional display needs.”

The next step for the museum is to make progress on the second gallery in the Mary Buie building, which is expected to hold 17 custom-made cases of artifacts.

The museum continues to seek resources to complete the reinstallation project. To support the project, click here. Individuals and organizations also can send checks with the fund noted in the memo line to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave., Oxford, MS 38655; or by contacting Angela Barlow Brown at 662-915-3181 or ambarlow@olemiss.edu.

University Museum Named Among Nation’s Top 50 College Museums

College Rank highlights its unique collections and historic houses

The UM Museum has been named among College Rank’s 50 Most Amazing College Museums. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Museum was named to College Rank’s 50 Most Amazing College Museums in the country.

This is the third time the museum has appeared on national rankings lists in five years – a first in the museum’s 78-year history.

“Our exceptionally strong collections and exhibitions are experiencing significant increased national visibility, and we are flying into the national museum radar in a significant degree within these publications,” said Robert Saarnio, museum director.

“This is what can happen when a museum such as ours is embraced by its community and supported by a university leadership that understands how arts and culture enrich our campus life and strengthen our institution’s teaching, research and service mission.”

The museum provides the campus and Oxford community with unique collections, annually rotating temporary exhibitions and acclaimed educational programs for lifelong learners of all ages. Its programming for children, schools and families reaches 14,000 young north Mississippians each year.

“The museum’s consistent high ranking among the best college museums in the country is a testament to those who chose it as a repository for treasured collections, and to Robert Saarnio and his staff who preserve and present those collections with such expertise,” said Mary Thompson, a board member for Friends of the Museum.

The Seymour Lawrence Collection of American Art includes an exceptionally significant Georgia O’Keeffe painting as well as work from other 20th century artists including Arthur Dove and Marsden Hartley.

The UM Museum’s Greek and Roman antiquities collection is renowned as one of the nation’s finest. Unique collections are an important factor in the museum being named among College Rank’s 50 Most Amazing College Museums. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

The museum’s collection of Greek and Roman antiquities contains more than 2,000 sculptures, terracotta and bronze artworks, decorated pottery and coins, and a variety of artifacts that date from 1500 B.C. to 300 A.D. The majority of this internationally renowned collection was donated to the university by archaeologist and professor David M. Robinson in 1958.

The Millington-Barnard Collection of Scientific Instruments originated with the university in the 19th century. About 500 instruments that were used to teach Ole Miss students from 1848 to 1861 are housed in the museum.

The museum also has a collection of Southern folk art from the late 19th to 20th centuries by artists using a range of nontraditional materials. The permanent collection contains work by Theora Hamblett, Sulton Rogers, James “Son” Thomas and Pecolia Warner, among many others.

Also part of the museum are historic houses, including Rowan Oak, home of Nobel- and Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Faulkner. This iconic site has attracted visitors from all 50 states and 58 different countries in a recent 12-month period.

Besides its collections, the museum also offers many educational opportunities for members of the community through lectures, adult studio workshops, family activity days, children’s art classes and summer programs.

For more information about the museum, its programs and scheduling a visit, go to http://museum.olemiss.edu.