Art objects provoke questions. They stimulate lively discussion and profound discourse, both in and beyond the galleries. They invite reflection and reconsideration. They generate complex sets of ideas. They inspire.
With an internationally known collection that is deep and diverse, the Spencer Museum of Art’s holdings currently number more than 38,000 artworks and artifacts in all media. These extensive resources make the SMA uniquely positioned to encourage interdisciplinary exploration at the intersection of art, ideas, and experience. Our mission is to strengthen, support, and contribute to the academic research and teaching of the University of Kansas, and to serve communities of learners across Kansas and beyond.
In 2009, with the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and numerous private donors, the SMA established the Andrew W. Mellon Department of Academic Programs. This new department builds on the Spencer Museum’s longstanding outreach to varied academic units with the aim of integrating SMA collections, exhibitions, facilities, and artistic projects into the crossdisciplinary intellectual life at KU.
The Spencer Museum of Art offers many opportunities for different levels of engagement, ranging from a one-time class visit to ongoing collaborative research or course development.
In conjunction with KU’s selection of The Center of Everything by Laura Moriarty as its Common Book for the 2014-15 academic year, the Spencer Museum of Art has selected Bernard Palissy’s ceramic platter Rustic Basin (circa 1570-1590) as the Common Work of Art.
You can search our extensive holdings by keyword, artist, culture, geographic area, time period, and other identifiers.
University classes can still engage with the collections and staff of the Spencer Museum of Art while the galleries are closed for Phase I of a major renovation. Museum staff are available to work with classes in a variety of ways, including use of the Spencer’s Classroom Collection and online collection database.
We look forward to working with you outside of our usual spaces and greatly appreciate your patience and flexibility during the Museum's transformation. Please fill out our online class visit or contact Celka Straughn, Director of Academic Programs, to discuss ideas or questions by email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone, 785.864.0125.
Teaching faculty and graduate teaching assistants frequently bring their classes to the Spencer. View excerpts from their feedback to learn about some of the ways in which they use the Museum and why they continue to come back.
The faculty members of the Mellon Academic Programs Advisory Board help guide and assess current activities and future directions for the Department and the Museum's overall integration into KU's rich academic life.
Any questions about arranging course visits or to learn more about the diverse opportunities to partner with the Spencer, please contact a member of the academic programs department.