Grinnell College Museum of Art

New Name, Old Mission

“For many years now, we have functioned as a museum,” says Lesley Wright, director of the gallery and of the museum. “We have a growing collection. We have exhibitions. We have a deep set of programs. But people don’t think of us as a museum.”

For some, a gallery means a smaller space or a space only for exhibitions; for others, it’s a commercial place to buy artwork. Resolving that confusion was one reason for the name change, Wright says.

Student looking at artworkThe name change also celebrates Faulconer’s 20th anniversary. “This seemed like a ripe opportunity to make a change,” Wright says. “Our new name ties us clearly to the College. When we were founded, Dan [Strong, associate director] and I were asked to use the gallery to expand the reputation of the College through visual arts. We’ve certainly established ourselves, and putting the College’s name on the museum will help connect our success with the significance of Grinnell College in people’s minds.”

The name Faulconer Gallery will be retained for the exhibition space, which honors the intentions of the late Vernon ’61 and Amy Hamamoto ’59 Faulconer when they named it. Amy Faulconer supports the new name.

The Grinnell College Museum of Art name will also be added to the Print and Drawing Study Room, located in Burling Library. The print room was opened in 1983 and houses the College’s collection of works on paper. Faculty and students use the space to study original works of art from the collection in their teaching and learning. The print room has been part of Faulconer Gallery since 1999 and the museum name will signal the connection. 

The Faulconer Gallery logo will be retired this summer. New signs, print materials, and a website will celebrate the new name and look. 

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