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

Memories from the Fields: The Landscapes of Gary Ernest Smith
August 23, 2016 – January 6, 2017   

Both a landscape and figure painter, Gary Ernest Smith depicts the rural landscape of Iowa and the West, along with the many individuals who work the land and the animals to make their livings.  This exhibition will be in partnership with the town of Perry, Iowa, an art filled enclave 45 minutes west of Ames.  The Brunnier Art Museum will exhibit the land, soil, and vistas of Gary Ernest Smith, while Perry will concentrate on displaying the figures.  This is a unique opportunity to create two distinct, yet cooperative exhibitions, which brings Iowa State and University Museums closer to the public that supports both our institution and the arts.

This exhibition is curated and organized by University Museums with significant support from Roberta and Howard Ahmanson; Ray and Susan Johnson; Barb and Bill Clark; Denise and Jay Hartz, Hotel Pattee; and University Museums.  Additional generous support has also been provided by Roger and Barbara Bruene; Michael A. Caufield; City of Perry; College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Iowa State University; Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau; Mark and Anne Honeyman; Al and Ann Jennings; Jan and Steve Kaiser; Gerald and Karen Kolschowsky; Ladies of LaPoste: Colleen Eckhoff, Jenny Eklund, and Mary Nichols; Vicki and Jerry Lage; Lions Club of Perry; Perry Chamber of Commerce; Perry Rotary Club; Betsy and Eric Peterson; Raccoon Valley Banks; Trustees of Hometown Heritage; and the University Museums Membership. 

The art in the exhibition is generously lent from the collections of Howard and Roberta Ahmanson, Raymond and Susan Johnson of Minneapolis, MN, and Fullhart/Carnegie Charitable Trust doing business as Hometown Heritage in Perry, IA.

Inspired By… Faculty Responses to the Permanent Collection
August 23, 2016 – January 6, 2017

Iowa State faculty were invited from the Visual Art department to select an object from the permanent collection to artfully respond.  This exhibition exhibits both the historic and the new works of art that were created.

Challenging Taste: Art Nouveau in the Decorative Arts
August 23, 2016 – July 2017                                            

The late 19th century was a period of uneasiness within the decorative arts as a lessening in quality and taste marked much of what was produced at this time.  Many artists and designers began to look for a way to bring distinction and handcrafted quality back into the decorative arts.  Art Nouveau was one of several artistic movements created in response to these issues, while also addressing a new sense of modernity that would bring diverse cultures into a new century.  In this exhibition, both European and American versions of Art Nouveau are examined with a focus on the use of nature for inspiration and the artistic innovation of the style through the wonderful collection of glass, ceramics, and more held within the permanent collection of University Museums. 

Decidedly Collectable: States Patterns in the Iowa Quester Glass Collection
August 23, 2016 – July 2017                                                

Glass patterns first appeared bearing states names in 1897, near the height of the Art Nouveau movement in the United States.  The American glass manufacturing companies had recently survived winter gas shortages, a strike by the glass workers union, a depression, and a struggling economy.  Naming patterns after states was a resourceful marketing approach that fostered interest in the pressed glass table sets after such difficult years in the industry. The States Patterns were produced by several glass companies, however the leading manufacturer was the United State Glass Company (US Glass), a conglomerate formed in 1891 of over 18 formerly independent manufacturing companies.

In 1897, the first patterns introduced by the US Glass Co. were No. 15029 (Indiana), No. 15048 (Pennsylvania), No. 15049 (Maryland), No. 15050 (Ohio), No. 15051 (Kentucky), and No. 15052 (Illinois).  These first states series were well received, so in the following year five additional state patterns were produced. Between 1898 and 1903, US Glass Co. produced twenty-five additional patterns bearing states names for a total of 36 patterns.

At least one example from all US Glass Company’s 36 state patterns can be seen in this exhibition along with several additional glass companies’ and their state named patterns. A majority of the glass objects are in the Iowa Quester Glass Collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. 


Christian Petersen Art Museum

Elements of Wonder:         
The Public Art of Norie Sato

August 22–December 16, 2016         
1017 Morrill Hall, central campus








Image: e+l+e+m+e+n+t+a+l, 2010-2011, Norie Sato (Japanese-American, b. 1949). Glass, aluminum, LED lighting. Major funding provided by Dr. Richard Forsythe for the Iowa Art in State Buildings Project for the Chemistry Department at Hach Hall. In the Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. Location: Iowa State University, Hach Chemistry Building

Creating over 45 site-integrated public art installations since 1982, Norie Sato (Japanese-American, b. 1949) strives to add meaning and human touch to the built environment and considers edges, transitions, and connections as important as the center.  Her public art installations are located around the United States, with five site-specific installations in Iowa.  Sato has created three major installations at Iowa State University, One, Now All  (1997-2000) in the Palmer Building, e+l+e+m+e+n+t+a+l  (2008-2012) in Hach Hall, and, most recently, The Fifth Muse (2015-2016) in Marston Hall. This exhibition of selected conceptual drawings, models, and sculptural elements invites the viewer to explore Sato’s public art projects from conceptualization to fabrication and final installation.

Other public art projects included in this exhibition:
Water Passages (2007-2015), Fort Worth Chisholm Trail Parkway, Texas.
Study Circles (2010), University of Iowa Hygienic Laboratory, Iowa City, Iowa.
Air Over Under (2009-2011), San Francisco International Airport, California.
Cactus Mirage (2006-2008), McDowell Mountain Ranch Aquatic Center, Scottsdale, AZ.
Slides (2003-2005) Iowa State Labs, Ankeny, Iowa.
Here and Balance (2000), Salt Lake City, Utah.
Ghost Palms, (1998-2007) Miami International Airport, Florida.
Biochemistry Waltz (1996-1998), Biochemistry Building Addition,University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Dallas Convention Center Expansion (1991-93), with Garrison Roots, William J. Maxwell, Philip Lamb, Texas.
Transience of Memory (1991), Seattle, Washington.  (temporary installation)
Westside Light Rail (1991-1998), with Tad Savinar, Bill Will, Richard Turner, Portland, Oregon.

The Art on Campus Collection at Iowa State University is one of the largest campus public art collections in the nation, and exists to serve the educational mission of the university.  Norie Sato is among the 600 artists represented in the Art on Campus Collection. Christian Petersen (1885-1961) was the nation’s first permanent, artist-in-residence in the United States, and created twelve site-specific sculptures for Iowa State.
This fall 2016 exhibition was planned to coincide with the debut of The Fifth Muse recently installed in the east lobby of the newly renovated Marston Hall.

This exhibition is organized by the University Museums with support from the University Museums Membership, College of Engineering and the Estate of Donna Howard.Loans graciously provided by Norie Sato and the City of Fort Worth Public Art Program.

About the Artist
Norie Sato was born in Sendai, Japan in 1949 and moved to the United States with her family when she was 4. After spending some years in Michigan she graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Printmaking in 1971. She moved to Seattle in 1972 and received her MA in Printmaking and Video from the University of Washington in 1974. Since that time she has lived and worked in Seattle and has been involved with public art. Her artwork for public contexts is derived from site and context-driven ideas. Her practice also includes works for galleries, museums and other installations. Her projects are located around the country. She works in sculpture and 2-dimensional work, and in various media including glass, metal, terrazzo floors, integrated design work, landscape, video and light.

Shortly after moving to Seattle, one of Sato's prints won a first prize at the 1973 Pacific Northwest Arts and Crafts Fair. Sato was awarded National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships in 1979 and 1981. She received the 1983 Betty Bowen award, the 1998 The National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association Honor Award, the 2013 Twining Humber Award from Washington State Artist Trust, the 2014 Public Art Network Leadership Award from Americans for the Arts, and the 2014 Washington State Governor's Arts and Heritage Individual Artist Award. Sato served on the Visual Arts Advisory Panel for the NEA in 1983. She is a former member of the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Council and a former commissioner of the Seattle Design Commission.

More information: www.noriesato.com



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 - Friday Noon to 4:00 PM


Anderson Sculpture Garden

Gwynn Murrill’s Sculptures: A Walk on the Wild Side
August 2014 - September 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.