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Exterior of the Spencer Museum at Sunset
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Overview

With a diverse collection of more than 45,000 art objects and works of cultural significance, the Spencer is the only comprehensive art museum in the state of Kansas and serves more than 100,000 visitors annually. 

The Museum’s vision is to present its collection as a living archive that motivates object-centered research and teaching, creative work, and transformative public dialogue. The Spencer facilitates arts engagement and research through exhibitions, artist commissions and residencies, conferences, film screenings, musical and dramatic performances, artist- and scholar-led lectures, children’s art activities, and community arts and culture festivals.

The Spencer Museum of Art is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and participates in the Association of Art Museum Directors.


Mission

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The Spencer Museum of Art sustains a culturally diverse collection and encourages interdisciplinary exploration at the intersection of art, ideas, and experience. The Spencer strengthens, supports, and contributes to the academic research and teaching of The University of Kansas and is committed to serving communities of learners across Kansas and beyond.


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Saralyn Reece Hardy, Marilyn Stokstad Director

Director's Remarks

Transformation creates new opportunities. Since we opened the doors to the renovated Spencer Museum of Art, our enhanced galleries and learning spaces have provided opportunities for provocative juxtapositions of art. At the same time we have further tuned programming and collection practices to meet our audiences’ needs and encourage new interests.

Collaborations with artists have brought dynamic new works into our galleries and the Lawrence community. Grants for conservation and exhibitions have allowed us not only to display many objects in the collection for the first time, but also to set a record for the most objects the Museum has ever had on display. Now, as we enter the second century of our collection, we continue to experiment with new ways to share art and ideas.

We have responded to a need for increased accessibility by incorporating audio looping technology into our public spaces, and also by adding more tours, research, and intriguing audio and visual content to the Museum’s free app.

Our Integrated Arts Research Initiative (IARI) continues to push us in thrilling and uncharted directions as we partner with more scholars and artists across more disciplines, keeping the arts central to research at KU.

I invite you to explore our dynamic exhibitions, diverse programs, and engaging community events as we continue to support the pivotal role of the arts at KU, within Lawrence, and beyond.

— Saralyn Reece Hardy