The College of William and Mary. Between its academic rigor, natural beauty and other countless offerings, it is a great place at which to call oneself a student. This week we would like to take an opportunity to recognize one of the College’s great cultural assets: the Muscarelle Museum of Art.
The genesis of the Muscarelle was 40 years ago when a visitor pointed out that a Georgia O’Keefe painting was hanging unprotected on a campus wall. Then-President Thomas A. Graves wondered what other works of art the College had strewn about campus, and he commenced a survey to find out. What he found — a collection that spans hundreds of years — became the foundation for what would be the Muscarelle’s permanent collection when the museum opened officially in 1983.
Since its inception, the Muscarelle has grown into a powerhouse. Under the guidance of Glenn Lowry — the museum’s first director who is currently the director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York — the collection has grown to include pieces by Albert Hoffman, Picasso and Matisse.
In addition, the Muscarelle frequently hosts must-see exhibitions. Within recent memory, PostSecret and Clyde Butcher, who many see as the photographic heir to Ansell Adams’s throne, have graced the campus. And in celebration of the museum’s 25th anniversary, an exhibition of Medici paintings straight from the Uffizi Museum in Florence, Italy garnered national recognition for both the museum and the College.
Going forward, the College has made clear its plans for the future of the museum. In the new arts complex that is currently underway, the Muscarelle will be expanded in space and stature, giving it the opportunity to do more of what it has been doing so well for all of these years.
In the meantime, students should be sure to take the time to take advantage of this excellent campus resource. It is right around the corner, and all of its offerings are free — to us, at least.