Spencer Museum of Art

Life in close proximity to the University of Kansas has its perks, one of which is access to The Spencer Museum of Art. The only comprehensive art museum in the state of Kansas, its diverse  collection houses more than 45,000 art objects and works of cultural significance, and is toured by more than 100,000 visitors each year. One of those visitors had this to say on Trip Advisor: “KU’s Best Kept Secret. This small museum of art is a rare treasure in the heart of mid-America.” And we wholeheartedly agree.

The University of Kansas Museum of Art, housed in Spooner Hall, was established in 1928 based on a collection of nearly 7500 art objects offered to KU by Kansas City art collector Sallie Casey Thayer. Over the years the collection has continued to grow thanks to the generosity of benefactors and the expertise of curators.

The museum eventually outgrew its quarters in Spooner Hall. Mrs. Helen Foresman Spencer, a KC collector and patron of the arts, made a gift of $4.6 million to fund the construction of a new museum. The resulting building houses the Spencer Museum of Art, the Murphy Library of Art and Architecture, and the Kress Foundation Department of Art History. 

The collection expanded significantly in 2007 when the Spencer Museum of Art assumed stewardship of approximately 8,500 ethnographic objects from the former University of Kansas Museum of Anthropology. 

The Museum closed to the public in April of 2015 for the first major renovation since the building’s opening. The transformation includes an enlarged, light-filled lobby with a new flexible gathering space; expanded and enhanced teaching and learning spaces; increased storage for works on paper; improved access through an in-gallery elevator and staircase; and a two-story, floor-to-ceiling window overlooking historic Marvin Grove. 

Saralyn Reece Hardy, Museum Director, invites you to, “Experience our transformed galleries, explore our redesigned website, or participate in our programs. However you choose to connect with us, astonishing possibilities await you.” Visitors seem to concur, one recently sharing this on Trip Advisor: “Art lovers should stop here! An interesting collection and well worth a visit. I am guessing way too many people in the area do not realize what a gem they have.” 

We encourage you to plan your own visit to the Spencer very soon. Admission is free and the galleries are open daily except Monday. Visit their website, www.spencerart.ku.edu, for exact hours and more information.

Content provided by www.spencerart.ku.edu

Image courtesy of the Spencer Museum of Art, The University of Kansas


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