Sheldon Museum of Art
art museum in Lincoln, Nebraska



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Sheldon Museum of Art
art museum in Lincoln, Nebraska
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12th and, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, R St
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, Nebraska
United States

More about Sheldon Museum of Art

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Located on the campus of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, the Sheldon Museum of Art kind of flies under the radar.

You may not expect an art museum of this caliber to be set in this inauspicious location. Yet here we are, with a collection that includes works by Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Alexander Calder, Marsden Hartley, Richard Serra, Tom Wesselmann, and Mary Cassatt, among others.

This museum didn’t start out as a museum; as with some other institutions, it started in a much more informal manner, in this case, as the Haydon Art Club, named after British painter, Benjamin Robert Haydon. The Art Club then became the Nebraska Art Association, which in turn was later renamed the Sheldon Art Association (SAA), which is the organization that supports the museum itself. As for the collections of art, they are the combined result of the SAA and the University of Nebraska collections; the museum was first the University of Nebraska Art Galleries, then the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, and finally, in 2008, the Sheldon Museum of Art.

The museum has had a couple of thefts in its history. In 1965, the painting The Golden Age by Benjamin West was stolen, but was recovered by the FBI. A student at the university was later charged. In 1998, a large sculpture, Man in the Open Air, was discovered to be missing after the U of N Cornhuskers victory in the Orange Bowl football game, perhaps as part of the “celebrations.” At the time, the director of the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden, George Neubert, said that the Gallery “would be pleased if the sculpture simply showed up at its door.” Lucky for the rest of us, it was found a few days later on the East campus of the university, about three miles away. Man in the Open Air then found a new home inside of the building, after some repair and restoration.

The sculpture mentioned above is only one of 33 outdoor works of art on the campus; these range from smaller pieces mounted on a wall, to monumental-sized works made from steel. Moving indoors, there are many more examples of sculpture, as well as collections of drawings, photographs, prints, and of course, the paintings.

The name of the museum and the Art Association goes back to the Sheldon family, who were involved with the Nebraska Art Association for a number of years, but it became real when Frances Sheldon died in 1950, leaving much of her estate to fund not only the construction of a gallery, but also the equipment needed for it to function. Her brother Bromley and his wife also left a very sizable sum to go toward the gallery when he died in 1958. The building where most of the art lives was designed by architect Philip Johnson in the late 1950s and was completed in 1963; it now occupies a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.



  1. Authority control BNF: cb166627507 (data) LCCN: no2008078908 SUDOC: 171242556 VIAF: 170736350 WorldCat Identities: lccn-no2008078908. “Sheldon Museum of Art.” Wikizero.
  2. BRETTELL, RICHARD. "The Crystal Bridges Museum: American Art in the Heartland." Southwest Review 97, no. 3 (2012): 385-99.
  3. Knoll, Robert E. Prairie University: A History of the University of Nebraska. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press: Alumni Association of the University of Nebraska, 1995.
  4. Scarlet's Web - 1/9/98 - Top Stories.
  5. “Sculpture Stolen from Art Gallery.” Bangor Daily News, January 8, 1998.
  6. University of Nebraska-Lincoln | Web Developer Network. 'Sheldon Museum of Art,' 'Sheldon Art Association' are new names | News Releases | University of Nebraska-Lincoln.'Sheldon Museum of Art,' 'Sheldon Art As
  7. Varnelis, Kazys. ""We Cannot Not Know History": Philip Johnson's Politics and Cynical Survival." Journal of Architectural Education (1984-) 49, no. 2 (1995): 92-104.doi:10.2307/1425400.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Sheldon Museum of Art

The Sheldon Museum of Art is an art museum in the city of Lincoln, in the state of Nebraska in the Midwestern United States. Its collection focuses on 19th- and 20th-century art.


Sheldon Art Association

In 1888, The Sheldon Art Association was founded as the Haydon Art Club. It got its name in honor of the British painter, Benjamin Robert Haydon. The Haydon Art Club held an annual art exhibit and supplied art education to the university. In the early 1900s, the club underwent a reorganization and was incorporated under its new name, the Nebraska Art Association.

The Sheldon Art Association is a non-profit organization that has over 500 members.

Sheldon Museum of Art

The Sheldon Museum of Art was initially known as the University of Nebraska Art Galleries, and was then formerly known as Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery. The museum's name was changed in 2008, along with the support organization that supports the museum, which is now known as the Sheldon Art Association, formerly the Nebraska Art Association.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Sheldon Museum of Art.