Academic and Public Programs
The Harvard Art Museums are dedicated to creating transformative teaching and learning experiences for students, faculty, and the public. The museums’ comprehensive collections are put to work as vital teaching instruments that enhance critical thinking.
All of the museums’ spaces have been designed to facilitate teaching and learning through art. With innovative programs tailored to diverse audiences, the museums are a site for all to convene and discover the power of object-based learning.
Unique in size and scope among North American museums, the expansive Art Study Center allows visitors to request objects not currently on display in the galleries, facilitating self-directed teaching and learning from works in all media. Housed under the glass rooftop addition, this space receives controlled natural light—ideal for the kind of close looking that happens here.
The Materials Lab (M/Lab) serves as an environment for art making as a means of learning and knowing. M/Lab programs explore the complex physical lives of artworks through close-looking, hands-on experimentation and interaction with experts.
Together, the Divisions of Asian and Mediterranean Art, European and American Art, and Modern and Contemporary Art oversee and interpret the vast collections of the Harvard Art Museums. To care for these collections—approximately 250,000 objects from across the world and spanning thousands of years and all media—curatorial divisions are organized along geographic and chronological lines.
Research is at the heart of the Harvard Art Museums’ efforts to preserve, document, present, interpret, and strengthen the collections and resources in their care. The museums’ four research centers—the Archaeological Exploration of Sardis, Center for the Technical Study of Modern Art, Harvard Art Museums Archives, and Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies—advance the understanding of, and the care for, artwork, artists’ materials, and cultural heritage.