I’ve previously written about the University of Oklahoma in Norman when I discussed the Bizzell Memorial Library. At the risk of sounding too biased about my potential future school, there’s even more to explore on the beautiful campus. Specifically, the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.
The building we see today was originally built in 1971, but its architecture resonates today, especially with the 2005 addition of the Lester Wing and the 2011 addition of the Stuart Wing. The winding pathways are serpentine and lead you effortlessly through multitudes of collections both permanent and touring across a number of floors you don’t expect given the outside the building (extradimensional space? I doubt they’ll let us in on that secret). The museum was named after a student of the School of Buisness and World War II veteran who, in 1950, crashed his small plane and perished. His parents, memorializing their lost son, contributed funds towards the building of the art center.
Permanent exhibits include a portion of the Adkins Collection featuring American and Native American works (the remainder of the collection is exhibited in Tulsa at the Philbrook Museum of Art), as well as works by notable artists such as Van Gogh, Monet, Degas, Renoir, and more. Plan to spend at least a whole day in the museum, and that’s only if you’re not also interested in the special exhibits.
You can easily spend multiple days here without too much sweat as it’s free to the public due to an endowment from the OU Athletics Department, which is handy due the aforementioned special exhibits which appeal to many of the schools on campus. For instance, when I visited just prior to Thanksgiving to meet with the Classics department, I was encouraged to see Immortales, an exhibition featuring busts of the Roman emperors on loan from the Capitoline in Rome. Be still my Classicist heart.
Current exhibitions include one on Galileo tying in with the exhibits around town as well as some of their newest acquisitions. Student exhibitions will be coming in next.
The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is located at 555 Elm Ave in Norman, Oklahoma and is open Tuesday-Wednesday and Friday-Saturday 10 am-5pm, Thursday 10 am-9 pm, and Sunday 1 pm-5 pm. You can get more information, including current and upcoming exhibitions on their website.