The UMTWS 2018 began today!


On April 11th, the University Museums Training Week Shanghai 2018 (UMTWS 2018), co-organized by University Museums and Collections (UMAC) of International Council of Museums (ICOM), National Educational Alliance of University and College Museum (NEAUCM), Shanghai Educational Alliance of University and College Museums (SEAUCM), and Qian Xuesen Library & Museum of Shanghai Jiao Tong University (QLM-SJTU), was officially opened at Qian Xuesen Library & Museum. The opening ceremony ended up with an extremely vibrant and heated panel discussion themed on “University Museums: Striving towards Excellence”. The experts of university museums from various countries delved into in-depth dialogues in the discussion. Fresh perspectives are presented and debated for the future development of university museums in China. 

Learn more.

A new edition of the UMTWS is approaching!

UMAC is delighted to announce that this year’s edition of the University Museum Training Week Shanghai is better than ever!

It will take place between 11 and 20 April at the Qian Xuesen Library and Museum, Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Superb program.

See more info here.

Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota Forges New Relationships with University’s Medical School

Boris Oicherman, WAM’s Ihlenfeld Curator for Creative Collaboration, and Academic Health Center’s Director of Infectious Disease Center Timothy Schacker have proposed and received approval from the medical school (Academic Health Center) Dean JakubTolar and WAM (Weisman Art Museum) Director Lyndel King to proceed with developing a platform for incorporating the arts in the Academic Health Center.

Academic Health Center and Weisman Art Museum will collaborate on establishing a platform for sustainable, long-term collaborative relationships of artists and researchers dedicated to developing innovative approaches to healthcare. Short-term (1-2 years) objectives:
Establish a number of collaborative relationships between artists and researchers that will provide a basis for creating a long-term program. Special attention will be given to developing sustainable models of support for the arts at AHC that go beyond fixed-term grants and projects. Three projects have been identified as the first to be explored.
• Artist Peng Wu collaborates with Prof. Michael Howell, a researcher of sleep, to combine artistic and scientific perspectives on how to enhance and improve sleep therapy.
• Dancer and choreographer Anna Marie Shogren engages with the Center for Aging Science & Care Innovation at the Nursing School to research how dancers and caregivers can collaborate on developing better care protocols for patients.
• Artist Alyson Hiltner works with biological matter and life forms as with her sculptural material. She would develop a conversation with Prof. Paul Laizzo (Visible Heart Lab) and Brenda Ogle (Bioengineering) to establish a broad platform for biological arts in the AHC.

WAM’s Education Director, Jamee Yung, has been asked by AHC Assistant Dean for Curriculum Ann Pereira to be part of the planning team for updating the medical school curriculum. AHC is particularly interested in using fine arts to enhance visual diagnostic skills. Jamee’s expertise is a perfect fit. She trains students and teachers in developing observational skills that help make meaning from works of art. These are the same skills necessary for diagnosis. Research at the Yale University has established that using experiences with artworks is successful in developing diagnostic skills in medical students. Jamee has worked with a few medical school classes over the last few years, but this update would integrate WAM’s program into the curriculum.

These projects could make the U of MN AHC one of the leaders in innovative medical education.

2018 CAUMAC Symposium

Reframing university collections — Research Infrastructure

ANU, Canberra, Australia

Call for Papers

The Council of Australian University Museums and Collections is currently calling for proposals for our symposium to be held at the Australian National University on April 6. 

While the symposium is primarily a way for us to gauge the Australian experience of this issue, we also welcome international perspectives.  Even if you are not able to attend the symposium, we’d love to hear responses to these questions from your part of the world. We’d be interested in putting together a document to be made available at the symposium that gives an international perspective.

So recasting the symposium questions for an international audience:-

  1. How have universities dealt with the issue of legacy collections?
  2. What are the advantages and pitfalls of valuing legacy collections based on their potential for new research?
  3. How do you manage a collection to be ready for research that might currently be unforeseeable
  4. What does this mean for collections whose research potential is unknown?

We welcome the thoughts of university curators, researchers, professional staff, administrative staff, university leaders and students who would like to help shape our thinking on this issue.

Read more.

Southern Illinois University Museum Reopens

After being forced to close for six months due to budget cuts, SIU’s University Museum has reopened its doors to the public. SIU is located in Carbondale, Illinois, USA. 

WM Weston Stoerger, the Curator of Exhibits, said, “We’re looking to become that cultural point for southern Illinois again.”

He’s looking to help the museum, which shuttered its doors in July because of the state budget impasse, return to its former glory.

“Because there are so few places like this in southern Illinois it’s really important that they stay around because arts are integral in any society,” he said. “You need to have them.”

Right now only the museum’s north hall is open but Stoerger says the south hall is currently under construction and will reopen in the future.

LaSalle University In Pennsylvania, USA, Plans to Sell Masterpieces From Its Museum Collection

Adapted from a Jan. 6 article by Susan Snyder in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

LaSalle University in Pennsylvania has announced plans to sell 46 paintings from its art museum in order to raise money for other strategic priorities of the university.


The university estimates it will raise between $4.8 million and $7.3 million, much of it for masterpieces including Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’ Virgil Reading the Aeneid Before Augustus from 1865; Dame Elisabeth Frink’s sculpture Walking Madonna; Dorothea Tanning’s Temptation of St. Anthony;Georges Rouault’s Le Dernier Romantique (The Last Romantic); and  Albert Gleizes’ Man in the City (L’Homme Dans la Ville).

The Association of Art Museum Curators slammed the plan in a statement. “This decision goes against fundamental best practices of museums, the very standards that have built and shaped the country’s tradition of establishing and preserving art collections for the public trust,” the group wrote.

Both the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and the Association of Art Museum Directors followed with a statement, and the Task Force for the Protection of University Collections also informed La Salle of its opposition to the plan, said Lyndel King, director and chief curator of the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota and cochair of the task force.

“Our major role is making sure that institutions understand the implications and potential consequences of what they are proposing to do,” King said, noting that other museums could refuse to lend traveling exhibits to the museum and essentially isolate it from collaboration with its peers. “We also want to make sure that donors and others know that this is being considered. It’s a black mark on the university. If I were a donor, I would certainly think about making another donation to a university that did that.”

Often university trustees and administrators don’t understand how inflammatory it is to sell art for purposes other than improving its collection and museum, or that the museums are an integral part of a college’s teaching, she said.

The task force formed around 2009 when Brandeis University in Massachusetts, like many schools stung by the recession and a loss in its endowment, proposed to close its Rose Art Museum and sell off the art. The museum, opened in 1961, had a loyal following who complained. Legal action ensued, and the plans eventually were scrapped.

For La Salle, a 3,200-student Catholic university that has struggled with a projected deficit and layoffs in recent years, criticism isn’t just coming from the art community. Alumni from other fields also have sounded off on social media. “Pretty soon it will be a trade school. Sad times,” Tierney Kelly, a 1998 graduate from Philadelphia, posted on Facebook. Kelly, a film publicist who majored in English literature at La Salle, said she visited the museum frequently as a student. Her projects for a class on Shakespeare took place there. “It was amazing to be able to conduct a class in a place like that,” she said. Later, she worked in La Salle’s admissions office and touted the museum as a selling point. “It was a gem for the university,” she said.

La Salle, in the Logan section of Philadelphia, intends to keep the museum open and replace works on display that are being sold with other pieces from its collection. But alumni worry that with the sale of such prominent pieces the museum won’t be the same.

Vinny Vella, a 2012 communications graduate who currently works as a reporter at the Hartford Courant, said the “paltry” amount La Salle stands to raise isn’t worth it. “La Salle has certain assets that make it valuable to the students and one of those assets has always been its art museum,” said Vella, a former Daily News reporter. “If La Salle is willing to sell off parts of its art collection, what else is it willing to sell?


UMAC receives a grant from ICOM-USA

UMAC is delighted — and grateful — that ICOM-USA granted us a subsidy towards the organisation of our annual conference at the University of Miami, Florida. 



Jointly organised with the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries (AAMG), UMAC expects this annual conference to be its largest ever.

See more about UMAC-AAMG 2018 here.