Director's Message

The Harvard Art Museums are different.

We have spent years working with architects at the Renzo Piano Building Workshop and at Payette to renovate and expand our historic facility—to make it more transparent and accessible, so visitors can experience the full range of what we have to offer in all three of our museums.

Yet beyond the restored brick and travertine, the new Alaskan Yellow Cedar facade, or the glass and steel roof that unites the Fogg, Busch-Reisinger, and Arthur M. Sackler museums, it is our mission that sets us apart.

The Harvard Art Museums are like a small metropolitan museum on the campus of a major university. Our internationally renowned collections number among the largest in the United States. And like the university that surrounds us, research, teaching, and learning are at our core.

In partnership with Harvard faculty and staff as well as peer institutions like the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography, we connect encyclopedic collections to coursework and plan thoughtful installations, special exhibitions, and programs designed to engage students and visitors. We encourage close looking and critical thinking through the examination of original works of art.

When we open our doors to the public on November 16, the Harvard Art Museums’ unique place in the museum landscape will be clear, both architecturally and programmatically. Whether visitors are learning about the complex relationship between painting and photography in the 19th century in the permanent collections galleries, viewing a recent gift of Japanese Edo-period painted screens in the University Galleries, or marveling at an ancient Greek drinking vessel in the Art Study Center, they will experience the difference of a teaching museum that supports learning through art.

Thomas W. Lentz


Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director