Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College

An outstanding collection of American art from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.

Academic Year: Tuesday - Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Summer (May-August): Wednesday - Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Closed to the public on most major holidays and during Randolph College’s fall, winter and spring breaks.

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City Streets & Country Roads Artisan Trail (site #26)

Professional Distinction: Demonstrations, Exhibition, Instruction, Public Art/Installations

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The Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College houses an outstanding collection of American art, chiefly paintings, works on paper, and photographs dating from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Located on the Randolph campus and open to visitors year-round, the Museum serves both the academic community and the general public and offers changing exhibitions, rotating displays of the College’s permanent collection, and educational programs.

The College’s tradition of collecting art dates to 1907, when the senior class commissioned the well-known American artist William Merritt Chase to paint a portrait of the College’s first president, William Waugh Smith. Louise Jordan Smith, the school’s first professor of art (and President Smith’s cousin), played a crucial role in developing the art collection. A fervent believer that firsthand study of the art of one’s time was central to a liberal arts education, she established an annual exhibition of contemporary art on campus in 1911. It was from this series of exhibitions—which continue to this day—that the idea of a permanent art collection grew, and the first acquisition was made in 1914 from the 4th Annual Exhibition. Professor Smith ensured the continued growth of the collection with her 1928 bequest to establish an acquisition fund.

The art collection was exhibited throughout campus until 1977, when major works were moved to the current facility (constructed in 1952 by the National Gallery of Art to protect the national art collection in wartime). In 1981, Mr. and Mrs. William Thoresen donated funds to create a large new gallery at the Museum facility, and in 1982 the College received a generous gift from the Sarah and Pauline Maier Scholarship Foundation, Inc., for further improvements and to establish an endowment to support Museum operations. In 1983, the facility, simply known as the Art Gallery, was designated the Maier Museum of Art to honor the Foundation’s founder, William J. Maier (1903–1981). His daughter, Sara Maier Rowe, is an alumna from the Class of 1967. The Museum’s first official curator was appointed in the early 1980s, and the first director took office in 1988.

In keeping with Professor Smith’s intention that students be surrounded with original works of art, many objects are still displayed on campus, in offices and buildings such as Lipscomb Library and the recently renovated Student Center. The Collection’s most significant pieces are stored and exhibited at the Museum for security and environmental controls.


Danni Schreffler




1 Quinlan Street
Lynchburg, VA 24503

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