Welcome to the Allen Memorial Art Museum! I am Andria Derstine, the museum’s director; the staff and I are so pleased that you are with us today – whether visiting in the galleries, or accessing us virtually. Part of Oberlin College, the Allen has been free and open to all since 1917, serving the local community and Northeast Ohio as well as national and international audiences. We are proud of the encyclopedic collection – which has artworks from many of the world’s cultures, spanning some 6000 years and six continents. No matter your interests, we are sure you will find paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and works in other media here that speak to you.
In addition to the renowned collection, the museum’s buildings are works of art. The first, designed by Cass Gilbert and built from 1915-17 in an Italian Renaissance style, is one of four that he designed for Oberlin’s campus; Gilbert later went on to build the United States Supreme Court. The museum also has a large, airy gallery in the addition designed by Robert Venturi, which opened in 1977. This was Venturi’s first museum commission, and is hailed as one of the earliest and finest examples of postmodern architecture in the country.
We hope you enjoy your visit. As you walk with this guide through the galleries, please be mindful of your surroundings, giving space to the works and helping us to preserve them for future generations of visitors. We welcome your comments, invite you to take part in our many engaging public programs, and hope you will visit again soon.