Williams College Museum of Art

Joseph Cornell; Sun box; Art © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY; Williams College Museum of Art

The Williams College Museum of Art has contributed 2,700+ images of its permanent collection to the Artstor Digital Library. The selection in Artstor represents the quality and scope of the Museum's holdings across Western, African, Eastern, and ancient collections.

The Williams College Museum of Art contains approximately 15,000 works representing a range of time periods and cultures: ancient and European; modern and contemporary; Asian and other world cultures, with an emphasis on American art.

The museum was established in 1926 to provide Williams College students with the opportunity to observe works of art first hand. Karl Weston, the museum's founder and first director, taught art history at Williams College for 22 years. The museum is housed in a nineteenth-century building designed by Thomas S. Tefft, which originally served as Williams College's first library. In 1981, under the direction of the architect Charles Moore, the museum was substantially expanded.

As the collections have grown, the museum has focused on American, modern, contemporary, and non-Western art, as a complement to the European holdings of the nearby Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. In 1990, the museum founded the Prendergast Archive and Study Center to house letters, photographs, and other materials relating to the Prendergast brothers and their era. Through the generosity of Charles Prendergast's widow, the museum has amassed the largest institutional collection of watercolors, oils, and sketchbooks created by the Prendergasts.