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In Their Time

Brunnier Art Museum
August 27–December 20, 2024

At times throughout history, museums have been seen as static, unchanging, and out of sync with popular taste and fashion. This generalization is often located in the belief that art or history museums that aim to exhibit the past do not always make room for changing ideas. Yet contemporary art or cultural museums are also assaulted with similar accusations, which can come out of very understandable circumstances and reasons due to current worldwide sociopolitical situations.

In Their Time is an exhibition that takes a hard look at those questions within University Museums collections and aims to lift the veil from museum work. What does it mean to be an art institution on the brink of its 50th anniversary? How did the collection come into existence? What has changed in the last 50 years due to taste, society, and popular thought? How do the Museums deal with the problematic objects housed within the collections? Why do the Museums continue to care and conserve certain objects, yet not others? Who are the donors that have made this 50-year history possible? What is the future of museums and how does a university museum fit into these new conversations about the role of museums?

Spun out of an idea to take a hard look at those objects in the collection that have lost favor in the eyes of popular taste, this exhibition is an opportunity to engage University Museums curators with Iowa State University faculty and students to ask those difficult questions and engage in a meaningful dialogue about the future of museums.

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Read about the exhibition themes and the questions raised. Themes include: Taste & Time, Care & Conservation, Cultural Context, Collecting Over Time, Resources & Donors, and Trade & Provenance.

Read About Themes


Exhibition Programs

Find full descriptions of programs on the University Museums Calendar. All programs are free and open to the public. Registration is encouraged but not required. Click the event title for more information and/or to register. Events listed below will be at the Brunnier Art Museum (1805 Center Dr., 295 Scheman Building, Ames, Iowa) unless otherwise noted. Times are in Central Standard Time (CST). Programs are subject to change. Check the University Museums Calendar and Facebook page for the latest events information.


Care & Conservation Curator's Tour of "In Their Time"

September 8, 2024, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM (US Central)

Location: Brunnier Art Museum, Scheman Building

The responsibility of a museum to the continued care of collections is a constant process of conducting preventative maintenance and conservation. Join us for a tour through In Their Time to understand the monumental task of caring for a large public art collection.

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Conservation in Practice

October 2, 2024, 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM (US Central)

Location: Virtual on Zoom

Join Midwest Art Conservation Center staff Megan Emery, Chief Conservator and Senior Objects Conservator; Dianna Clise, Senior Papers Conservator; and Kristy Jeffcoat, Senior Paintings Conservator, in a conversation about their work.

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Uncomfortable Art Curator’s Tour | "In Their Time"

October 6, 2024, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM (US Central)

Location: Brunnier Art Museum, Scheman Building

Join University Museums curators, Allison Sheridan and Adrienne Gennett, to explore art exhibited throughout In Their Time that can make visitors and museums staff uncomfortable because of the imagery, material, or provenance.

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A Closer Look

November 7, 2024, 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM (US Central)

Location: Brunnier Art Museum

Join Dr. Emily K. Morgan, Associate Professor of Art History, her class of graduate students, and University Museums curators for mini object tours and a peek into the Museums’ collections history on exhibit throughout In Their Time.

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Provenance Research in Global Museum Collections

November 12, 2024, 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM (US Central)

Location: Virtual on Zoom

Today, museums with global art collections face many legal, ethical, and historical considerations that guide collection policies, practices, and provenance research priorities. Join the staff of the Denver Art Museum’s Provenance Research Department as they present case studies and contextualize collections impacted by current cultural patrimony concerns, including the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, Nazi-era looting, theft surrounding ancient art and archaeological sites, and Colonial-era injustices. Presented by Denver Art Museum Provenance department.

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Visit the Brunnier Art Museum

Tuesday–Friday, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday, 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
Closed to the public Mondays. ISU curriculum tours may be scheduled on these days with a 2-week notice.

Closed University Holidays
Click here to see when the museums are closed.

Address: Scheman Building (2nd Floor), 1805 Center Drive, Ames, Iowa
Admission: The cost is free; however, there is a suggested donation of $8.


This exhibition is curated and organized by University Museums. Support was given by John F. and Nancy J. Wiederspan and University Museums Membership.

Images: All objects in the permanent collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

© 2024 University Museums, Iowa State University. All rights reserved.