McMaster Museum of Art

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McMaster Museum of Art
McMaster Museum of Art.jpg
Established McMaster Art Gallery, 1967: McMaster Museum of Art, 1994
Location McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario
Coordinates 43°15′46″N 79°55′05″W / 43.26266°N 79.91803°W / 43.26266; -79.91803
Type Art Museum
Website Official website

The McMaster Museum of Art is a non-profit public art gallery at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. It offers a year-round program of changing exhibits (12-15) of historical, modern and contemporary art in its five galleries.[1] It also presents complementary public events such as artist talks, lectures, workshops, school and family programs, and panel discussions.[2]

The museum is located in the heart of the campus, attached to Mills Memorial Library and close to the McMaster Student Centre.

The McMaster Museum of Art belongs to the Ontario Association of Art Galleries reciprocal program, through which members of participating galleries receive free admission to all galleries.[3]


McMaster University was founded in 1887, in Toronto, and the art collection began soon after as portraits of presidents and faculty accumulated.[4] A donation of European prints by the Carnegie Institute in the 1930s led to more systematic collecting and programming. By the 1950s, regular art exhibitions were presented on campus in Mills Memorial Library (the same site of the present Museum of Art.) Many faculty members and the Wentworth House Art Committee guided the growth of the collection and pushed for a purposeful art gallery on campus. Professors Karl Denner (German Department) and George Wallace (Art and Art History Department) advanced the collection of German Expressionist prints at the University.[5] With the help of the Chair of the History Department, Dr. Togo Salmon, the McMaster Art Gallery was established in 1967 in the east wing of Togo Salmon Hall on campus.[6] The donation of over 200 European works in the 1980s by Hamilton jeweler Herman Levy O.B.E. put the Museum on the map in the Canadian art scene.[7] He later bequeathed $15.25 million to the Museum with specific directions that the money must be spent within five years, on acquisition of art of non-North American origins. The Gallery moved across campus to its present larger location where it opened to the public under a new name, the McMaster Museum of Art, on June 11, 1994.[8] More recently, the Donald Murray Shepherd Trust provided funds for the purchase of contemporary European art from notable artists such as David Bomberg, Christian Rohlfs, and Natalia Goncharova.[6]

Claude Monet Waterloo Bridge, Effet de Soleil, 1903, oil on canvas, Gift of Herman Levy, Esq., O.B.E., 1984. McMaster Museum of Art Collection.


The permanent collection, one of the finest University collections in the country, consists of over 7,000 objects.[9] It includes:

The Museum’s Paper Centre contains over 4,000 prints, drawings, and watercolours that the public can view by appointment.[2]

The Museum’s Bruce Brace Coin Collection is an extensive collection of Roman coins and medallions. The Honorary Coin Curator is McMaster Classics Professor, Dr. Spencer Pope.[11]

There is an Education Gallery that serves as a multipurpose room for lectures and study and holds the Museum’s modest library.

Collaborative Projects[edit]

McMaster Museum of Art works with faculties across campus. Recent projects/exhibitions using University research and experts include:

  • Light Echo  : Department of Physics and Astronomy[12]
  • Rising to the Occasion : English & Cultural Studies (John Douglas Taylor Conference)[13]
  • Togo Salmon Centenary Exhibition : Classics Department[14]
  • Synasthesia Exhibition : Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences[15]
  • Fierce : Theatre and Film Studies[16]
  • Scrapes : Faculty of Humanities[17]
  • Allyson Mitchell: Ladies Sasquatch : Women’s Studies[18]
  • First Contact? Exhibition Talk : Indigenous Studies[19]
  • Faculty Exhibition / Annual Graduating Student Exhibitions  : McMaster School of the Arts
  • A Glimpse of China in the 18th Century : Art History and The Confucious Institute[20]
  • The Art of Seeing – Visual Literacy Course with Department of Family Medicine : Faculty of Health Sciences[21]
  • Chewa Masks of Pain and Loss: AIDS in Malawi : Department of Anthropology[22]


  1. ^ Virtual Museum of Canada (Canadian Heritage Information Network)
  2. ^ a b London Arts
  3. ^ Ontario Association of Art Galleries
  4. ^ Get With the Program
  5. ^ The Art Collection of McMaster University (1987), McMaster University, Kim G. Ness. 330 pages, illustrated
  6. ^ a b Museum Publicity
  7. ^ The Hamilton Spectator, Art Museum Marks Two Birthdays by Regina Haggo, February 2, 2012
  8. ^ Canadian Art Magazine, Winter 1996, ‘The Legacy’ by Sarah Hampton, pp 38-49
  9. ^ Tourism Hamilton, May 2011,
  10. ^ Van Gogh Gallery
  11. ^ The Hamilton Spectator, Ancient coins buy McMaster researchers a look at the past
  12. ^ Canadian Art Magazine
  13. ^ Akimbo Art News
  14. ^ McMaster Daily News website
  15. ^ Marcia Smilack’s website
  16. ^ The Toronto Star,
  17. ^ McMaster Faculty of Humanities Website
  18. ^ Canadian Art Video Interview
  19. ^ McMaster Museum of Art Blog
  20. ^ Hanban news
  21. ^ Macleans Magazine Article
  22. ^ McMaster Daily News