Campus museums offer free entertainment

Emma Blickensderfer

Students at Iowa State have access to an abundance of free activities, but one resource that tends to be overlooked is the free art and museums on campus.

Lynnette Pohlman, director and chief curator for university museums, said that even if people don’t like the art that is showcased, the pieces are really there to teach visual literacy so students can develop critical thinking and analytical skills.

“[The museums] should be an emotionally, intellectually and culturally safe place for students,” Pohlman said.

To engage with the free museums and art, students should take advantage of all the museums on campus, including the Brunnier Art Museum, the Christian Petersen Art Museum, the Farm House Museum, the Elizabeth and Byron Anderson Sculpture Garden and the Art On Campus Collection.

Brunnier Art Museum

The Brunnier Art Museum is the only accredited museum in Iowa, and it is located in the Scheman Building next to Hilton Coliseum. The donated collection from Ann and Henry Brunnier is mostly decorative art.

Adrienne Gennett, assistant curator of collections and education, said decorative art is furniture, glass, silver — all things that aren’t sculptures or paintings.

The museum has rotating exhibits every semester and are all centered around Iowa State classes, departments or colleges so the art can be linked back to a student’s education. Pohlman said the only reason universities should have a museum is to add to the curriculum.

The museum is open from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free, but there is a suggested donation of $3 per visitor.

Christian Petersen Art Museum

Located on the bottom floor of Morrill Hall, the Christian Petersen Art Museum offers rotating exhibits of contemporary and public art to appeal to all different tastes.

The museum is named after Christian Petersen, the country’s first artist-in-residence, who taught and sculpted at Iowa State from 1934 to 1955. Along with the art collection named after him, the museum also offers the Art on Campus Program, the University Museums’ Visual Literacy and Learning Program, the Lyle and Nancy Campbell Art Gallery on the main floor, and the Roy and Bobbi Reiman Public Art Studio.

In addition to art, this museum has hosted the original Morrill Act, otherwise known as the Land Grant Act, in 2008. That document established grants of land to help fund colleges, and until it came to Iowa State, it was considered a vault document in Washington D.C.

The Christian Petersen Art Museum also has rotating exhibits each semester, and in the fall of 2017, it will host Game Art vs. Art Game, an exhibit that will show the imagery behind video games and will take artwork and graphics apart to explore that medium as a work of art, said Allison Sheridan, collections manager and communication coordinator.

It is open from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and is free, although donations are suggested.

Farm House Museum

As the first building on campus and a National Historic Landmark, the Farm House is now a public museum that tells stories about the history of Iowa State. This building was the first library, classroom, dormitory; the whole university started with those 4,000 square feet, Farm House Museum Manager Allison Sheridan said.

This building was home to college deans and young women who studied home management.

“Young women would live there and practice cooking meals, managing budget and caring for babies,” Sheridan said. The women were given a child from the local foster home and were left to learn how to run a home.

The house is furnished with everything that would be found in a home from 1860 to 1910, and anyone is encouraged to stop by. There are no roped off parts of the house, so visitors can wander freely and get up close.

The museum is open from noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.

Elizabeth and Byron Anderson Sculpture Garden

This sculpture garden can be found around Morrill Hall and is home to numbers of sculptures from the American 20th and 21st centuries. In addition to the artwork, Iowa State maintains picturesque landscaping with flowers, trees and green grass to enhance the art.

The sculpture garden is located in the northwest corner of Central Campus and was given to the university by Elizabeth Anderson in memory of her husband, Byron.

Art On Campus Collection

When you take a look around Iowa State’s campus, it is obvious that the buildings and landscaping itself are works of art.

In 1980, the Art on Campus Collection and Program was created to enhance the beauty of campus by adding pieces of art to campus — more than 2,000 pieces, to be more specific.

The art helps enhance the aesthetic of campus, and it is an education aspect because a beautiful campus inspires learning, Pohlman said.

The campus is able to have inspirational beauty because of the amount of work that goes into placing each piece of art. Specific committees work in specific areas of campus to decide what art gets chosen and where it goes.

Iowa State is almost always recognized in any “Most Beautiful Campus” list because of the art and landscaping that is strategically placed, and it is always one of the top three reasons why students come to Iowa State, Sheridan said.