American University Museum
The American University Museum is a three-story public museum and sculpture garden located within the University’s dynamic and multidisciplinary Katzen Arts Center. In addition to its permanent collection, rotating exhibitions emphasize regional, national, and international contemporary art. The museum’s collections and the recent addition of the Alper Initiative for Washington Art enable us to present the art history of Washington, while our Kunsthalle style ensures constantly changing, highly relevant and provocative programming. The 44,000 square foot museum space includes three levels and offers the opportunity to present multiple exhibitions at a time, with approximately 24 exhibitions mounted annually.
The American University Museum grew out of the legacy of C. Law Watkins, chair of the University’s Department of Art in 1942 until his death in 1945. Faculty in the Department of Art, the Phillips Gallery Art School, and friends of Watkins including Duncan Phillips, co-founder of The Phillips Collection, contributed gifts of art to establish the Watkins Memorial Collection as a tribute to their friend and mentor. Over the next fifty years, the Watkins Memorial Collection at the AU Museum has grown to host over 6,000 objects. In 2005, through the generous donation of Cyrus and Myrtle Katzen, the Katzen Arts Center opened. Today, with the Watkins Memorial Collection at its core, the AU Museum adopted the mission of presenting exhibitions that mirrored the city of Washington, DC, with a focus on political, international, and local art.