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University of Richmond Museums' Mission

The University of Richmond Museums serve the University’s students and community, the greater Richmond area, and statewide, national, and international audiences. The University Museums provides the opportunity for the appreciation, knowledge, and scholarship of art, cultural history, and science through the collections, exhibitions (on-campus and traveling), and scholarly publications. Academic and public programs include special courses, lectures, gallery talks, artists’ residencies, workshops, concerts, symposia, and other events.

The collections of the three museums include approximately 100,000 objects, ranging from gemstones and shells, to  decorative arts and artifacts from many cultures, to prints from the Renaissance to the present, to contemporary paintings and sculpture. The University Museums’ activities complement and support the educational mission of the University of Richmond by being integrated with the University’s academic and curricular programs and utilizing student, faculty, and staff involvement. Internships, fellowships, and work/study positions for students enhance the museum’s offerings.

The University of Richmond Museums was formed as a department of the University in 1999 to integrate and expand the offerings of the following museums:

Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art

The Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art’s mission is to be a forum for the visual arts from various times and cultures. This is accomplished by bringing outstanding national and international art to campus, shaping, preserving, and interpreting a permanent collection that supports exhibitions, teaching, and research, and offering audiences diverse opportunities to experience art.

The museum was formed in 1968 and was originally housed in the Fine Arts Building until 1996 when it moved into new facilities in the George M. Modlin Center for the Arts. In 1996 the museum acquired the I. Webb Surratt Jr. Print Collection, which began the museum's active acquisition of works for the permanent collection.

Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature

The Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature bridges the arts and natural sciences for people of all ages and cultures to foster learning and appreciation of various disciplines including the study of cultural artifacts and natural treasures.

Established in 1977 by Lora McGlasson Robins, wife of alumnus and benefactor E. Claiborne Robins, the museum originally housed a variety of minerals, decorative arts, and shell specimens donated by Mrs. Robins. In 1989, the museum moved into its current expanded facilities located in a separate wing of the Boatwright Memorial Library. In the intervening years, gifts of objects both natural and manmade have complemented the original collection and filled the more than 100 permanent display cases now supplemented by three changing exhibition galleries.

Joel and Lila Harnett Print Study Center

The Harnett Print Study Center provides a forum for the study and appreciation of works on paper (prints, photographs, and drawings) with an emphasis on works in the permanent collection. Students, faculty, staff, and visiting scholars and artists benefit through direct and sustained access to original works of art exhibited and housed in the center.

The Joel and Lila Harnett Print Study Center opened in 2001 to become the only center in the region dedicated to the study of prints. Joel (alumnus) and Lila Harnett of Phoenix, Arizona, generously provided prints and funding for the center and its endowment.