U of M Museum of Art

525 S State St Ann Arbor

Best Museums in Ann Arbor/U of M Museum of Art
Written By VAMONDE Ann Arbor

About the Museum

The University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) in Ann Arbor, Michigan with 94,000 sq ft is one of the largest university art museums in the USA. Built as a war memorial in 1909 for the university's fallen alumni from the Civil War, Alumni Memorial Hall originally housed U-M's Alumni office along with the university's growing art collection.

UMMA contains a comprehensive collection that represents more than 150 years at the university, with nearly 19,000 works of art that span cultures, eras, and media. The museum's displays works by James McNeill Whistler, Franz Kline, Helen Frankenthaler, Pablo Picasso, Joshua Reynolds, Claude Monet, Max Beckmann, Walker Evans, Randolph Rogers, and Kara Walker, among many others.

The Building

Alumni Memorial Hall was originally conceived in 1864 as a way to honor the University of Michigan students, faculty, and alumni who had died fighting in the Civil War. However, the project was put on hold until 1904, when a committee of Michigan alumni and professors, led by Professor Martin Luther D'Ooge and Judge Claudius B. Grant, secured a promissory note from the Board of Regents for the land the hall would eventually be built on.

The hall itself was built in the neoclassical tradition with a pair of two stone columns flanking the hall's main bronze doors with two smaller side doors. The inside continues to house the Alumni Association's headquarters and the university's vast art collection alongside pieces donated by alumni, including a bust of the university's first president Henry Philip Tappan. It also housed the University Club, before the club moved across the street to the Union.

Cover image by AndrewHorne - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11744601. Information courtesy of Wikipedia.

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