Seven galleries display selections from the permanent collection of more than 37,000 works of art. Special exhibitions drawn from the collection or touring from other museums are displayed in four additional galleries. Because the Museum serves as a resource for the teaching and study of art history, fine arts, and the humanities, the collection is comprehensive in nature. It spans the history of European, North American, and East Asian art. Areas of special strength include medieval art; European and American paintings, sculpture and prints; photography; Japanese Edo-period painting and prints; 20th-century Chinese painting; and KU’s ethnographic collection, which includes around 10,000 Native American, African, Latin American and Australian works. More than half of the Western paintings and sculpture are on permanent display. The numerous Western and Asian prints, drawings, photographs, and decorative arts, including the Spencer Museum's renowned quilt collection, are shown on a rotating basis in short-term, thematic exhibitions. Those objects not on view are available for scholarly examination by appointment.
Even if you’re several time zones away, the Spencer’s internationally-known collection is now accessible to you with a few keystrokes and clicks of your mouse. Through our fully relational database, you can discover the Museum’s rich and diverse holdings.
The Spencer Museum of Art has almost 10,000 Native American, African, Latin American and Australian ethnographic artifacts. The ethnographic collection consists of objects such as Greenland Inuit clothing, Central African masks, Native American weavings and cradleboards and Australian boomerangs and bark paintings.
Korean Celadons, Ukiyo-e Prints, Qing Ceramics, Buddhist Sculpture, Literati Paintings, Japanese Screens, Dragon Robes, Kimonos, Tea Ware, Contemporary Asian Photography, Cutting-Edge New Media and Video.
Paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from Europe and the United States are on display in galleries on the third and fourth floors, encompassing ancient Egyptian sculpture through contemporary video art. The galleries are arranged by historical time periods, from the Ancient art case through the 20/21 space. Textiles are shown in rotating displays to minimize light exposure.
The Max Kade - Erich H. Markel Department of Graphic Arts at the Spencer Museum of Art houses nearly 10,000 works of art on paper, including prints, drawings, photographs, and artists' books. The core of our old master collection of prints was given by the Max Kade Foundation, whose president at the time of the gift was the late Erich H. Markel.
This collection of images documents works of art in KU's Spencer Museum of Art. There are approximately 17,700 images in the collection.