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

Gathering Glass: University Museums and the Iowa Questers
January 12 – July 17, 2016   



In celebration of the Questers international meeting that will be held in Des Moines in April 2016, an exhibition of the greatest examples of glass donated by members from many of the various Iowa chapters to University Museums’ permanent collection will be on display.  University Museums and the Iowa Questers created a partnership in 1996, with the understanding that the Questers would help to continue developing the collection of American made glass from 1840-1945.  It has been a fruitful collaboration and the Iowa Quester Glass Collection now numbers well over 1,000 objects.  The Gathering Glass exhibition will celebrate the generosity of these collectors and also their great interest in furthering the knowledge of historic glass at Iowa State. Additional small exhibitions of the Iowa Quester Glass Collection will explore cut glass, Iowa made glass, historical and commemorative glass, and table sets.

Legacy: 40 Years of Important Collections
August 25, 2015- July 17, 2016

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.

From Dawn to Dusk: Paintings by Gary Bowling
January 12 – July 31, 2016  


Gary Bowling is a master landscape artist.  His sensitive portrayals of fields, farms, and streams throughout the Midwest have won great acclaim.  University Museums has long been a supporter of Bowling, scattering his uniquely beautiful canvasses around Iowa State through the Art on Campus Program.  For the first time many of those works of art will be brought together, along with several loans, in a dynamic exhibition of Bowling’s landscapes in the Brunnier Art Museum. It will be an homage to the landscape that is so important to many at Iowa State and to the artist himself.

This exhibition is curated and organized by University Museums with support from Al and Ann Jennings, Clifford E. Smith, the Plant Sciences Institute at Iowa State University - Director Dr. Patrick Schnable, Deanne Brill and Dean Janssen, H. Dieter and Renate Dellmann, Kate Mason, and the University Museums Membership. 

The art in the exhibition has been generously loaned from many campus colleges and departments including the College of Human Sciences, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Plant Sciences Institute, the Department of Agronomy, the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Administrative Services, and the Office of University Counsel.  Additional works of art have been borrowed from the personal collections of Gary Bowling, Wendy Wintersteen and Robert Waggoner, the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center, and anonymous lenders.

Guide to the Gary Bowling paintings in the permanent collections: Low Res HIgh Res

January 12 – July 31, 2016                                                               


The 40/40 exhibition was a grand celebration of University Museums 40th anniversary and the Iowa Artists collection that has been built throughout those 40 years.  40/40+ will include some of the exceptional art from 40/40, along with new donations to the Iowa Artists Collection that were given in response to the success of that celebratory exhibition.  This exhibition continues the important work which University Museums has undertaken over those 40 years to support, embrace, and exhibit the arts of Iowa.

The exhibition is curated by University Museums with support from University Museums Membership.  Support is also provided by Stewart Burger, Ruth Ann Ohde, Julie and Len Rodman, Jasmine Sewell, Sewell Fine Portraitrure, LLC., Maria M. Shahidi, the Struss family in memory of Rollie Struss, Bruce McKee, and the Neva M. Petersen Acquisition Endowment Fund. 

Generous donations of art came from many collectors and artists including Marilyn Annin, Chunghi Choo, Peter Hamann, Brent Holland, Thomas C. Jackson, Brenda Jones, Joey Kirkpatrick and Flora C. Mace, Ingrid Lilligren, Christopher Martin, Janelle and George McClain, Mary Merkel-Hess, Joseph Muench, Marlene and Gary Olson, Nancy Polster, Wendy S. Rolfe, Carmon Slater and Donald Randall, Tilly Woodward, and the family of Gretchen Weber.


Christian Petersen Art Museum

Curating a Democratic Public Art Collection for Student Learning
Jan. 11 – July 14, 2016
1017 Morrill Hall, central campus









Creating a beautiful campus that inspired student learning was a practical, educational, aesthetic and founding decision of Iowa State College in the 1860s. Establishing a verdant landscape was the original campus aesthetic expression, with iconic architecture soon to be constructed. In 1927, President Raymond Hughes established a fine art collection to contribute to an aesthetic campus. 

Over eight decades later the Art on Campus Collection has grown to become the largest campus public art collection in the nation, with its primary mission to serve as an educational means that inspires learning, and contributes to diversity of thought and expression.

This overview exhibition explores the methods and processes of commissioning and acquiring works of art for the Art on Campus Collection, and how campus participation from thousands of faculty, staff, students and alumni have directed the selection of public art at Iowa State.

This exhibition is organized by the University Museums with support from the Office of the President, Ann and Al Jennings and University Museums Membership.

Christian Petersen, Sculptor
The Founding Artist of the Art on Campus Collection

Jan. 11 – June 10, 2016
0003 Morrill Hall, central campus















At age 48 Christian Petersen (Danish-American, 1885-1961) came to Iowa State and completed the History of Dairying Mural (1933-34) in the Dairy Industry Courtyard.  While Petersen originally was to be on campus for six months and create one campus art project, he remained for 22 years as Iowa State’s sculptor-in-residence and created 12 major public works of art, and over 400 studio sculptures. Petersen was also the nation’s first permanent, university artist-in-residence, a truly remarkable and profound designation at any institution of higher education, but especially on a campus focusing on science, technology and agriculture. Petersen retired from Iowa State in 1955.

In 1982 the University Museums formally established Iowa State’s Art on Campus Program and Collection, and considers Christian Petersen to be the founding artist for this campus public art collection, although Christian Petersen probably would have never claimed the honor for himself. Today, the Art on Campus Collection is the largest such campus collection in the nation. The Art on Campus Collection is a strategic educational and cultural asset for Iowa State students.

This exhibition presents works of art, models and drawings by Christian Petersen from the permanent collections. The exhibition includes works of art before Petersen came to Iowa and also explores the creative processes he used to research, create, site and install the public works of art now in the Art on Campus Collection.  After viewing this exhibition, you may wish to tour campus and experience the completed public art projects by Petersen that intellectually and aesthetically enrich Iowa State’s campus.

This exhibition is organized by the University Museums with support from the University Museums Membership.

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 installed furnishings of this three story historic home on central campus.


Monday, Wednesday, Friday from Noon to 4:00 PM
Tuesday, Thursday from 12:30 to 4:00 PM*


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.