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UM Museum Named Among State’s Best Museums for Art

By Michael Newsom

University of Mississippi Communications

The University Museum owns many paintings by acclaimed Oxford artist Theora Hamblett, and some of them are on display as part of the ‘Dreams and Visions’ exhibition. The museum has been named among the state’s best for art by Mississippi Magazine.

The University of Mississippi Museum has been named one of the state’s best for art by Mississippi Magazine, an honor that comes one year after the magazine named William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak, which the museum maintains, as the state’s best historic site.

The recognition came out in Mississippi Magazine’s new, reader-driven “Best of Travel Awards,” which were first given this year. Last year, the magazine also recognized Faulkner’s home, which is one of the university’s historic houses, as the state’s best historic site

The museum is featured in the September/October edition of the magazine, which also featured the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs as the state’s overall best art museum. The UM Museum also oversees the Walton-Young Historic House, former home of playwright Stark Young; and Bailey’s Woods trail in addition to Rowan Oak. 

“The University of Mississippi Museum is greatly honored to be recognized within the 2021 Mississippi Magazine ‘Best Of’ readers’ poll, as we were for the 2020 Best Historic Siteaward to William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak,” said Robert Saarnio, director of the UM Museum and Historic Houses. This grassroots polling representing diverse citizens from across the state holds particular meaning, and we are grateful to be recognized.”

The museum has offered art lessons in the community since 1941 and regularly hosts lectures by notable artists, conservators and historians. Museum hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Rowan Oak is open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. 

Current exhibits at the museum include “Dreams and Visions,” featuring works by acclaimed Oxford artist Theora Hamblett, and a display examining the tradition of African American quilt-making. 

Jacob Hashimoto’s work is part of a new exhibit called “The Other Sun,” which runs through August 2022. Hashimoto creates small, intricate drawings, but also massive hovering forms consisting of thousands of kite-like discs. Much of his work playfully balances the dichotomies he sees in landscapes and virtual worlds.

The museum’s collection of Greek and Roman antiquities contains more than 2,000 sculptures, terra cotta and bronze artworks, decorated pottery and coins, and a variety of artifacts that date from 1500 B.C. to A.D. 300. The majority of this internationally renowned collection was donated to the university by archaeologist and professor David M. Robinson in 1958.

The Millington-Barnard Collection of Scientific Instruments originated with the university in the 19th century. About 500 instruments that were used to teach Ole Miss students from 1848 to 1861 are housed in the museum.

The museum also has a collection of Southern folk art from the late 19th to 20th centuries by artists using a range of nontraditional materials. The permanent collection contains work by Sulton Rogers, James “Son” Thomas and Pecolia Warner, among many others.

The Seymour Lawrence Collection of American Art includes a Georgia O’Keeffe painting, as well as work from other 20th century artists including Arthur Dove and Marsden Hartley.

“We are thrilled to be included in Mississippi Magazine’s 2021 ‘Best of Travel,'” said Andrea Drummond, the museum’s membership, events and communications coordinator. “We are the only museum located in northern Mississippi mentioned, and we are in good company on the Best of Art Museum list.”

For more information about the UM Museum and Historic Houses, visit http://museum.olemiss.edu. For more information about Rowan Oak, go to https://www.rowanoak.com/.

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