The Mead serves Amherst’s educational mission by helping to make its 16,000-object collection relevant to teaching and research across the disciplines through special exhibitions, events, publications, and class visits. The Museum serves a wider public by bringing any curious visitor into contact with original works of art and with leading thinkers drawn from the Amherst campus and beyond, always free of charge and in a facility that is fully accessible.
The Mead occupies its original building, opened in 1949, and established with funds bequeathed by William Rutherford Mead, Amherst College Class of 1867, a partner in the storied architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White. Eight galleries feature regularly changing installations and special exhibitions spanning a wide range of historical periods, national schools, and artistic media. Highlights of the permanent collection include American and European paintings and sculpture, an English Baroque paneled room, ancient Assyrian carvings, Russian modern art, West African sculpture, Japanese prints, and Mexican ceramics. Visitors may see works not currently on view in the William Green Study Room.