The Hofstra University Museum has changed its name to the Hofstra University Museum of Art to better reflect the strength of its collections of art from the ancient to the contemporary, as well as its place among the most respected cultural institutions in the New York metropolitan area.
The Museum has come a long way since it was founded in 1963 as the Emily Lowe Gallery with a modest collection of works donated by trustees, alumni and faculty. Thanks to generous donors and patrons through the years, the permanent collection has grown to exceed 5,000 works of art – including photographs, prints and works from the world’s diverse cultures. The Museum also holds an extensive body of paintings and drawings by Yonia Fain, whose creative output spans much of the 20th century.
The name was first changed to the Hofstra Museum by the time of its first accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) in 1985. Only 3-4 percent of museums nationwide have earned and maintained this distinguished recognition.
In 2006 the name changed again to the Hofstra University Museum to mirror its alignment with Hofstra’s mission. Professors often bring classes to the Museum, and when lectures and university conferences are planned, the Museum staff is often brought in to coordinate their future programming with what will be taking place on campus.
According to Director Nancy Richner, “The Museum has used its collections and exhibitions to develop highly-respected programs for the University, as well as for local families, K-12 schools, and community organizations. We are always bringing new audiences onto the campus and introducing them to the cultural and academic life of the University. The key to all our programming is using the works of art in our collections and exhibitions with the goal to inspire and engage people; to encourage them to consider ideas and questions that go beyond what is presented, to go beyond the frame.”
Richner explains that although the Museum’s audience is larger than ever, there is still some confusion about what the Museum offers. “Is it a museum of the history of Hofstra? Are we open to the public? These are questions we still sometimes receive. The hope is that by amending the name to Hofstra University Museum of Art, there will be a better understanding of our exhibitions and our place in the community.”
Visit the Hofstra University Museum of Art website to view its calendar of events.