Harvard Art Museums
The Harvard Art Museums are comprised of the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum.
Backstory and Context
Fogg Museum opened in 1895 in a Beaux-Arts style building on the north end of
Harvard Yard. In 1891, Mrs. Elizabeth
Fogg left money to Harvard University to build a Fogg Art Museum in memory of
her husband. “Designed by architects
Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch, and Abbott of Boston, the joint art museum and
teaching facility was the first purpose-built structure for the specialized
training of art scholars, conservators, and museum professionals in North
America. With an early collection that consisted largely of plaster casts and
photographs, the Fogg Museum is now renowned for its holdings of Western
paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, photographs, prints, and drawings dating
from the Middle Ages to the present” (“History”). In 1927, the museum moved to its current
Founded in 1903, the Busch-Reisinger Museum is a Germanic museum that focuses on art of central and north Europe with an emphasis on German speaking countries. In 1921, the museum moved to Adolphus Busch Hall and in 1991, it moved to Werner Otto Hall. “Adolphus Busch Hall continues to house the founding collection of plaster casts of medieval art and is the venue for concerts on its world-renowned Flentrop pipe organ, while the Busch-Reisinger Museum’s holdings include significant works of Austrian Secession art, German expressionism, 1920s abstraction, and materials related to the Bauhaus” (“History”). The Busch-Reisinger Museum focuses on medieval sculpture, 18th century art, and postwar/contemporary art from German speaking European countries.
Founded in 1985, the Arthur M. Sackler Museum is the newest of the Harvard Art Museums and focuses on art from Asia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean area. In 1977, Harvard University’s Asian, Ancient, Islamic, and Indian art collections had grown exponentially and required their own place of residency. Dr. Arthur Sackler founded the museum that now holds these collections and is the home of the university’s History of Art and Architecture department and the Media Slide Library.