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