The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University features a collection of more than 10,000 works of art, with its permanent collection covering four main areas, namely Medieval Art, Art of the Americas, Classical Antiquities, and Modern and Contemporary Art. In addition to the permanent collection, other collections in the Museum include Traditional African Art, Pre-1945 European and American Art, Asian Art, and Russian Art.

Founded in 1969 as the Duke University Museum of Art, The Nasher Museum began its collection with the acquisition of over 200 medieval works from the Ernest Brummer Collection. The $24 million museum was designed by renowned architect Rafael Viñoly and opened a brand new 65,000-square-foot facility in 2005 to house the ever-growing collection. The Duke University Museum of Art was then renamed the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, after the late Raymond D. Nasher.


© The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

The Nasher Museum is home to one of the best collections of medieval art to be found in any of the North American university museums, which include a sharp focus on significant works by contemporary artists of African descent, making the Museum one of the few educational institutions to do so.

The Nasher Museum features several galleries that display rotating installations from the Museum's permanent collection and include selections of European and American paintings, contemporary art, ancient American (Pre-Columbian) art, African art, classical antiquities, and Outsider art.

The Nasher Museum's African Collection features over 300 objects with a particular focus on pieces from Nigeria, including 172 rare masks from the Yoruba tribe.

The Museum's collection of American artworks presents an array of work by Hudson River School painters, as well as other nineteenth-century American landscape painters, such as Edward Potthast, Andrew Wyeth, Charles Burchfield and Thomas Hart Benton.

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2.More Collections

More Collections
© The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

The Museum is also home to an exclusive collection of traditional Asian art, including Qing and Ming Dynasty porcelains and jades, Japanese woodblock prints from the Edo period, a 19th-century Indian miniature, several Arabic illustrated manuscripts, and several works by contemporary Chinese artists, such as Zhang Dali and Hong Lei.

There is also a significant collection of Russian art, including modern and contemporary paintings, sculptures, and works on paper with a focus on post-Soviet works by Russian émigrés. Most of the collection features works by artists from the Brezhnev era into the post-Soviet period, such as including Melamid and Komar.

One of the Nasher Museum's most significant collections is that of the Medieval and Renaissance works. Described as the "best university medieval collection in America" (Charles Little, Metropolitan Museum of Art), the collection numbers more than 300 medieval works from across Europe, dating back to the 9th Century, with a distinct focus on the Romanesque and Gothic periods. The collection includes illuminated manuscript pages, stained glass, stone, bronze, wood, and ivory sculptures, textiles, leather and a full illuminated book of hours.

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3.Visitor Information

Visitor Information
© The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University is located at 2001 Campus Driveat the Duke University in Durham and is open to the public from Tuesday through Sunday, closed on Mondays. Parking can be found on the east side of the building in a 100-space public parking lot, accessed from Duke University Roador Campus Drive. The Nasher Museum is accessible for visitors with disabilities, and three accessible parking spots are available at the Anderson entrance of the Museum.

The Nasher Museum hosts a variety of activities throughout the year, including Mural Bike Tours, which explores the beautiful murals of downtown Durham by bike, Special Artist Talks, Free Highlights Tours, Exhibition Openings and Closings, Family Days, Teacher Talks and Dance and Music Festivals.

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© The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

Public guided tours of the Museum are available for individuals and groups on Tuesdays and Sundays and are free of charge, except for ticketed exhibitions. The new Family Guide is an interactive gallery guide that connects visitors with the works of art in the Nasher Museum's permanent collection, offers extra information about them, and suggests fun gallery activities for children.

The Art Cart is a free golf cart shuttle service provided by the Museum for visitors who might need a little extra help from the parking lot to the front entrance. The Nasher also has an award-winning café that serves a casual menu of light meals, snacks, sandwiches and beverages, and a comprehensive Museum Store that sells a unique selection of art-related books, jewelry, and gifts for all ages.

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2001 Campus Drive, Durham, North Carolina 27705, Phone: 919-684-5135

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Things to Do in Durham, NC: The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University

  • Collections, Photo: The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
  • More Collections, Photo: The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
  • Visitor Information, Photo: The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
  • Tours, Photo: The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
  • Cover Photo: The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University