The Brunnier Art Museum, Christian Petersen Art Museum, Farm House Museum and the Elizabeth and Byron Anderson Sculpture Garden are affiliates of University Museums at Iowa State University. About eight to twelve annual changing exhibitions and permanent collection exhibitions provide educational opportunities for all ages. Lectures, receptions, conferences, university classes, panel discussions, gallery walks, and artist talks are presented to assist with further interpretation of objects. A full listing of programs and events is available by clicking here. Listed below are the current exhibitions with dates and location.

Brunnier Art Museum

August 25, 2015- December 19, 2015









In preparation for the year-long celebration of University Museums 40th anniversary in 2015, it became clear early on that there also needed to be a celebration of the arts and significant artists of Iowa. When University Museums was first conceived in the early 1970s there was no acknowledged agreement that the institution would collect, or make it a point to collect, Iowa artists.  As we look back today, 40 years later, we realize that University Museums’ collection of Iowa artists has become significant and, as time passed, a collection we sought to grow and develop in its breadth and wealth. 

Today, one of the University Museums’ signature permanent collections is the Iowa Artist Collection.  It began in the late 1920s and 1930s with Zenobia Ness, Raymond M. Hughes, Grant Wood, and Christian Petersen.  Today there are over 150 significant Iowa artists in the permanent collection with over 2000 works of art created by those artists.  The exhibition 40/40 was curated to commemorate the University Museums’ 40th Anniversary and also expand the number of Iowa artists in the collection.  The exhibition includes the addition of 40 new Iowa artists to the permanent collection exemplified with a work of art by each, and also the acquisition of 40 new artworks to the collection from Iowa artists already represented in the permanent collection.  Altogether there will be 40 new Iowa artists and over 80 new works of art added to the collection. 

In preparation for the year-long celebration of University Museums’ 40th Anniversary in 2015, it became clear early on that there needed also to be a celebration of the arts and significant artists of Iowa. Today, University Museums’ collection of Iowa artists has become significant and reflects a collection University Museums sought to grow and develop in its breadth and wealth.

Today University Museums is comprised of five entities and the collection of Iowa artists has grown throughout the years with the creation of the Christian Petersen Art Collection, the Art on Campus Collection (including the maquettes for many of the public works of art), and the permanent University Art Collection located in the Brunnier Art Museum.  In 40/40 we recognize the past accomplishments of this collection with the acquisition of 40 new works of art from 40 Iowa artists that are already part of the collection and have been important in the building of this collection over the last four decades.  Looking forward, the exhibition examines the future of Iowa artists and the collection with the acquisition of 40 works of art for 40 Iowa artists who were not previously represented.  This exhibition is a moment of reflection upon how far we have come in our unequivocal support of the arts and artists of Iowa, and in the continuing tradition of using the visual arts as a way to bolster and enhance the knowledge and curriculum of our ever growing population of young Iowan students.

During the 40th Anniversary Celebration, please join us in viewing the special exhibition 40-40 showcasing works of art by significant Iowa artists recently accessioned into the permanent collection, and celebrate the founding of University Museums in 1975.

4040_2The exhibition was curated and by University Museums with substantial and extraordinary help from Marlene Olson and Janelle McClain.  Major support was given by Arthur Klein and Dirk and Lucinda Scholten in memory of Margaret and Roger Scholten. Exhibition support was also provided by, Al and Ann Jennings, Ruth Anne Ohde, Carol Grant, Virginia Stafford, Susan Sargent, Stewart Burger, Maria M. Shahidi, the Struss family in memory of Rollie Struss, the College of Design, Debbie and Tom Johnson, Lois Kline, Julie and Len Rodman, Susan and John Russo, Terri and Elvin Hasselman, the Neva M. Petersen Acquisition Endowment Fund, and the University Museums Membership.

University Museums would also like to thank all of the artists and donors who gifted works of art for the exhibition and permanent collection – Marilyn Annin, Ann Au, Richard Black, John Buck, Mary Koenen Clausen, Barbara Fedeler, Peter Hamann, Brent Holland, Marie Hornecker, Mary Merkel-Hess, Thomas C. Jackson, Brenda Jones, Matthew Kirschenbaum, Arthur Klein, Matthew Kluber, Ingrid Lilligren, Paul Lubekin, David Luck, Christopher Martin, Janelle and George McClain, Joeseph Muench, Gary and Marlene Olson, Peter Orazem and Patricia Cotter, Joseph Patrick, David Percival, Neva M. Petersen Acquisition Endowment Fund, Lynette and John Pohlman, Nancy Polster, Dr. Peter Read , Wendy S. Rolfe, Jeanine Coupe Ryding, Priscilla and Charles Sage, John Schwartzkopf, Carmon Slater and Donald Randall, Tom Stancliffe, Crit Streed, Ellen Wagener, Family of Gretchen Weber, and Susan Chrysler White.


Reflections on Glass:
University Museums’ 40 Years of Collecting Glass
August 25, 2015- December 19, 2015



On the occasion of University Museums‘ 40th anniversary, it is the perfect moment to reflect upon one of the materials that has been collected since the earliest moment of our existence, glass.  The original collection of Ann and Henry Brunnier included a wide variety of glass decorative arts.  Ann Brunnier’s almost insatiable love of collecting and her obvious passion for glass were evident in the great breadth and depth of glass she collected.  Because of the Brunnier’s generosity, the permanent collection has examples from   innovative ancient Roman glass, to the technical perfection of Bohemian glass, and many more 19th and 20th century examples from Europe and America. 

As Iowa State is a science and technology university, it seemed appropriate that University Museums found a niche within the world of glass art.  The creation of glass takes exceptional scientific knowledge of the chemical properties of glass along with artistic ability, a perfect union of science and art.  Today we continue to exhibit those precious examples of glassmaking that first created the University Museums’ permanent collection thanks to the Brunnier’s.  Building upon that initial gift and interest in glass as a medium, University Museums sought to exhibit and collect glass, over time creating an encyclopedic collection, fostering one of our major collecting focuses. 

With the advent of the studio glass movement in the 1960s, glass as an art form became exceptionally popular and innovative. It all began in 1962 when Harvey Littleton teamed up with the research scientist Dominic Labino to lead two glassblowing workshops at the Toledo Museum of Art.  By the time University Museums was established with the opening of the Brunnier Gallery in 1975, the studio glass movement was in full swing and glass as a collectible art object was growing in popularity.  University Museums continued to make a concerted effort to collect contemporary studio glass sculpture over the previous 40 years.  Today the contemporary studio glass collection includes a number of significant glass artists such as Harvey Littleton and Dominic Labino, Dale Chihuly, Flora Mace and Joey Kirkpatrick, Toots Zynsky, Josh Simpson and many more.

Through the years, there has also been a focus on continuing to collect historic glass and build on the original gift of the Brunnier’s.  Through a unique collaboration with the Questers of Iowa, an organization that is dedicated to the collecting and educating about of many forms of art and objects, University Museums has developed a dedicated collection of American glass with objects donated or funded by Quester members and chapters from all over the state.  This partnership began in 1996 and after a fruitful 19 years, University Museums now has well over 1000 examples of primarily American glass from 1840 to 1950 in the Iowa Quester Glass Collection, including exceptional examples of brilliant cut glass, art glass, and early American pattern glass.  

Glass remains a passion for University Museums and a way to engage with the curriculum and student population at Iowa State.  As University Museums has been examining our many successes and happy moments over the past year, it is only right that we take a moment to celebrate and reflect upon the importance of glass as art for our collection and the land-grant mission of our institution through this exhibition, Reflections on Glass.

Legacy: 40 Years of Important Collections
August 25, 2015- December 19, 2015

The Ann Brunnier Decorative Arts Gallery may have only been established two years ago, but the art exhibited in this unique area of the Brunnier Art Museum has been gathered throughout the University Museum’s 40 year history.  The initial gift of Ann and Henry Brunnier set the course for the path of future University Museums collecting.  Not only by the objects they had collected, but by their exceptional generosity as donors who understood the importance of a university such as Iowa State needing to have a collection of art which could be used in curriculum engagement throughout the institution.  Their example developed into a legacy that other donors admired and took upon themselves to follow. 

Today the University Museum permanent collection is comprised of artworks given by over 500 donors.  From large estates to singular donations, University Museums is fortunate that there are so many generous patrons willing to donate their art to further develop what has become a dynamic collection of decorative and fine arts.  These collections are used to teach visual literacy and creative thinking to the many young students who come to Iowa State unaware of how the understanding of art can be applied to their specific studies and lives.  University Museums strives to make our collections interactive to our unique community; to honor those who understood our mission as a museum within a land-grant science and technology university and wanted to join in our collective goal of bringing art to the students of Iowa State University.

Asian Export:The Furniture of Carrie Chapman Catt and Selections from the Decorative Arts Collection
August 26, 2014 - July 31, 2015

The monumental furniture of Carrie Chapman Catt exhibits the legacy of an important Iowa State University faculty member.  The elaborately carved Japanese furniture was most likely made for the Chinese market, which was one facet of the huge Asian export market that developed from the 18th century and grew even larger with the opening of Japan in 1853-1854.  The furniture will be exhibited along with other selections of decorative arts from the permanent collection, both export wares and traditional Asian arts.



Christian Petersen Art Museum

(Re)discovering S(h)elves
August 24, 2015 through December 18, 2015 (3pm).


About the (Re)discovering S(h)elves Exhibition
How does society define identity? How do you? How do pieces of the identity puzzle such as gender, color, social class or spirituality influence our experiences? Through a diverse selection of artists and media, this exhibition explores some of the many ways in which identity can be empowered or marginalized, multidimensional or stereotyped. The works of art presented offer different lenses through which to view society. The paintings, sculptures, crafts, and other objects in this exhibition embody and connect to a wide variety of social issues and perspectives to inspire visitor discussion and develop critical thinking skills through visual literacy. 

This exhibition reflects a multi-disciplinary curatorial approach to reexamining the permanent collection in conjunction with the 40th Anniversary celebration of University Museums.  These collaborative interpretations, juxtaposed with the works of art, aim at encouraging viewers to examine themselves and varying perceptions of identity. 

The curatorial team includes Amy Bix, History; April Eisman, Art History; Nancy Gebhart, University Museums; Christiana Langenberg, English; Sara Marcketti, Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management; Amy Popillion, Human Development and Family Studies; Michèle Schaal, Women’s Studies and English; Jodi Sterle, Animal Science; and Gloria Jones-Johnson, Sociology-LAS.

This exhibition is supported by the ISU Women’s and Diversity Grant Program, Michèle Schaal and Jean-Philippe Tessonnier, Sara Marcketti, the Department of Apparel Events and Hospitality Management, the Department of History, the Department of English, the Department of Women’s Studies, and the University Museums Membership.

A full color gallery guide for the exhibition is available.

An opening reception will take place Wednesday, Sept. 2 from 6:00 to 7:30 pm in the Christian Petersen Art Museum, 1017 Morrill Hall.

The People’s college: the Morrill Act and Iowa State
Located in Morrill Hall, Iowa State History Gallery



The comprehensive historic time-line will be installed on the walls of the ground floor hallway that leads through Morrill Hall.  The purpose of this installation is to provide an exciting and informative reference point to the history of Iowa State, featuring the institution's prominent role as the first land grant college to fully accept the provisions of the "Morrill Act" of 1862.

The time-line will be divided into various time periods focusing on the important and interesting events that played a part in the creation and development of the University from inception to modern day.  Each section will focus on a wide variety of events and the people that were innovators over the last 150 years in developing Iowa's only Land Grant College into the world class University it has become. 

Morrill Hall's central location and historic significance has made it a compelling and logical choice for the time-line installation.  Since reopening after its dramatic restoration in 2007, the University's second oldest structure has played host to an average of over 10,000 visitors annually and has become a starting point for many guided and self-guided tours.  Guided visitors are often told of Morrill Hall's history as chapel, library and museum, but many self-guided visitors come and go without the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the history of the building and University.  The goal of this current project is to both enhance the experience of the visitors to Iowa State's campus and to better educate those visitors of the unique and illustrious role the college and community has played in advancing education and fulfilling the dreams of Senator Justin Smith Morrill and President Abraham Lincoln as enshrined in the Morrill Act.

This exhibition is organized by the University Museums from the permanent collection, and funded by Ann and Al Jennings, Carole and Jack Horowitz, Mary Watkins, Dorothy Schweider, Iowa State Foundation and the Ames Community Grant Foundation – Ames Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Commissioning a Collection: 75 Years of Public Art
Located in the Neva M. Petersen, Visual literacy and Learning Gallery, Morrill Hall           

Beauty and order inspire learning and good citizenship, according to Adonijah S. Welch, Iowa State’s first president (1868-1883).  He then began planning and planting the landscape of campus that today is internationally known for its beauty. In the 1930s, President Raymond M. Hughes (1927-1936) expanded this fundamental institutional value of the aesthetic campus and began collecting public art for educational and inspirational purposes for Iowa State students, and 75 years later ISU has the nation’s largest campus public art collection, the Art on Campus Collection with over 600 major public works of art located across campus.

Most of the Art on Campus Collection is site specific with each painting and sculpture uniquely conceived and created to reflect an academic value held precious to the departments and colleges of Iowa State. From Christian Petersen’s jersey cows sculpted in terra cotta in 1934 to Norie Sato’s chemically inspired elements glowing in LED light, each public artist began their creative process by conceiving and representing their subjects via models, drawings and maquettes which were shared with campus constituents prior to being created to full-scale.  This exhibition allows the viewer to experience the thrill of commissioning a new campus public work of art, and also challenges us to image these now iconic works of art before they became an integrated aesthetic object at Iowa State.  After viewing this exhibition viewers are invited to visit the final public works of art and further explore how the art evolved through the commissioning process.

Just as Presidents Welch and Hughes envisioned and President Gregory Geoffroy (2001-2012) supported by renovating Morrill Hall and founding the Christian Petersen Art Museum as a center for Art on Campus educational programs and collections, the Art on Campus Collection is a strategic educational for Iowa State students.  This collection is continually integrated in curriculum across campus and forms a core for the Visual Literacy and Learning Program. Through the practice of visual literacy-reading and understanding objects- all students improve critical thinking and communication skills.

This exhibition is organized by the University Museums from the Art on Campus Model and Maquette Collection.

Farm House Museum

See the newly installed furnishings of this historic home on central campus.  


Anderson Sculpture Garden

Gwynn Murrill’s Sculptures: A Walk on the Wild Side
August 20, 2014 - July 24, 2016 

Take a walk on the wild side at the Anderson Sculpture Garden!

For the next two years, seven large-scale bronzes created by Los Angeles-based sculptor Gwynn Murrill will be integrated temporarily into the landscape of the Anderson Sculpture Garden. From seemingly passive panthers poised to pounce and a ram overlooking the student passer-bys, to the crouching cougar and grazing deer, all the sculptures are inviting yet perhaps somewhat menacing in the central campus landscape.  Murrill is interested in creating forms that are both abstract and figurative. “It is a challenge to try and take the form that nature makes so well and to derive my own interpretation of it,” Murrill said. Gwynn Murrill entered the Art on Campus Collection in 2011 with three bronze sculptures Circle Cat, Midnight and Varna, and Running Saluki permanently sited at the College of Veterinary Medicine Small Animal Hospital entrance. 

Iowa State University is outstanding among American academic campuses for its abundance of public works of art. With the largest campus public art collection in the nation, Iowa State’s Art on Campus Program and Collection runs the gamut of artists, media, and styles. From realism to abstraction, murals to sculpture, and terrazzo to glass, the collection is vast and varied with a depth that has grown since the first public work of art was commissioned in 1933.  The Anderson Sculpture Garden provides the opportunity to present nationally acclaimed public artists that are represented in the permanent Art on Campus Collection in a larger visual and intellectual context to more fully explore their artistic themes at ISU audiences. 

This exhibition is organized by the University Museums with the gracious loan of works of art from the artist.  The exhibition is sponsored by Diane and Jim Patton, Arthur Klein, an Iowa Tourism Grant and University Museums Membership.

Learn more about the artist, Gwynn Murrill, at murrillsculpture.com.