Welcome to the University Museums
at the University of Delaware
(Click on images below to visit webpages for each location.)
The University Museums oversees the University’s collections of art and minerals, as well as three exhibition spaces: Mechanical Hall Gallery, Old College Gallery, and the Mineralogical Museum in Penny Hall. Changing exhibitions feature works and specimens from the collections in addition to objects loaned from collectors and institutions. Educational programming provides opportunities for individuals and classes to learn about the objects and their broader cultural significance.
Fostering diversity, interdisciplinary research and teaching, the University Museums partners with many units across campus, including the departments of Art and Design, History of Art and Art Conservation, and Morris Library’s Special Collections. Through its outreach programs and development of educational resources for schools, educators and community, University Museums extends cultural life beyond campus, welcoming art and mineral enthusiasts throughout the region, and opening doors to new audiences.
Beyond exhibitions, the University Museums also provides object study opportunities for hundreds of undergraduate students each year. Our collections reflect the generosity of donors over the past century; those considering donations to the collection are encouraged to contact the Director.
Old College Gallery
Old College Gallery is housed in Old College Hall, a National Historic Register building constructed in 1834, on the north campus of the University of Delaware in Newark. The Gallery encompasses both a main gallery and “west” gallery, and offers exhibitions of the University Collection, loan exhibitions, and student/faculty-generated exhibitions.
Indebted to donors who have given works of art to the University of Delaware over the past century, the University Collection reflects a wide range of objects. Strengths include photography from its origins to the present, with emphasis on the early twentieth century photography and the work of Gertrude Käsebier; works of illustrator Howard Pyle and his students; a growing collection of American and Western European prints; Russian Icons of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and Inuit art. In moving forward, we seek to expand our holdings of American and European art, as well as of contemporary art.
In addition to exhibitions curated by Museums’ staff, the Old College Gallery provides a venue for exhibitions curated by faculty and students, offering a unique learning experience. An extension of such student-curated exhibitions is regularly on view in the Roselle Center for the Performing Arts.
Mechanical Hall Gallery
Following an award winning renovation, Mechanical Hall reopened in 2004 as the home of the Paul R. Jones Collection of African American Art. This gift to the University by the Atlanta collector Paul R. Jones has served as a point of departure for a growing collection of African American art.
The African American art collection includes the founding Paul R. Jones gift, a broad range of prints from the Brandywine Workshop in Philadelphia, important photographs by P.H. Polk and representative works by Delaware artist Edward L. Loper, Sr. The gallery in Mechanical Hall offers changing exhibitions of African American Art drawn from the University’s collection and elsewhere. Mechanical Hall houses a print room for the use of those studying objects in the collection.
The Paul R. Jones Initiative fosters educational inquiry, interdisciplinary engagement, and critical thinking with and through African American art at the University of Delaware. Founded in conjunction with the gift of the Paul R. Jones Collection, the Initiative supports a broad range of programming intended to strengthen the collection and its interconnectivity with campus life and community. The Initiative supports faculty and student teaching and research related to the collection and curricular outreach related to American art and culture in dialogue with Africa and its diaspora.
Built in 1898, Mechanical Hall is on the National Register of Historic Places. Its purpose changed throughout the twentieth century, serving as an engineering building, an athletic training center, a residence for GI’s returning to school after World War II, and a ROTC building.
The Mineralogical Museum is housed in Penny Hall, the Geoscience building. Opened in 1971 and renovated in 2009, the Museum displays approximately 350 specimens, including minerals from the remarkable collection of Irénée du Pont. The du Pont collection was assembled in the 1920s and was gifted to the University in 1964, providing the foundation for further growth.
The present collection contains approximately 3000 specimens of minerals, meteorites, gems and carvings and is divided into a display collection and a reference collection. The display collection focuses on fine crystallized minerals; classics from worldwide and American localities, specimens from significant recent discoveries and themes such as crystallography and crystal growth. The reference collection is comprised of specimens that illustrate crystallography, regional and systematic mineralogy and is used by a wide variety of students in geology, engineering, art conservation and education.