Museums

The Museums at Washington and Lee University (Museums at W&L) advance learning through direct engagement with collections, stimulate appreciation of global cultures, and inspire leadership in the arts and sciences.

- Mission Statement 2010


 New Online Exhibition

We are pleased to announce the opening of the new online exhibition To See Color  First, a cross-departmental effort to showcase the work of Louise Hereshoff Eaton,  whose pieces make up a prominent portion of the Art Collection at Washington &    Lee.

Organized by Clover Archer, director of the Staniar Gallery; co-curated by Patricia Hobbs, senior curator of art for the Museums at W&L; and Tracy Bernabo, curator of Try-me Gallery (Richmond, VA), this online exhibition and its companion digital catalog turn a spotlight on the life and work of a relatively unknown painter thanks to the meticulous research of the curators and their students. Even while campus is closed to the public, we hope that the virtual experience of the Herreshoff project will provide a welcome, enriching experience for all those interested in art and culture. 

You can access To See Color First here and the digital catalog here. Physical copies of the exhibit catalogue will be made available when possible. For curator Pat Hobbs' reflections on bringing this exhibition to life, read her article in the W&L Columns here. 



COVID-19: MUSEUMS AT W&L CLOSING

On Saturday, March 14, Washington and Lee University adopted several policies based on the most current guidance from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The purpose of these policies is to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus to the greatest extent possible by limiting our community's contact with individuals who may have been exposed to the virus and with those who are at the highest risk from exposure.

Based on the most recent recommendations of the VDH and CDC and the example set by fellow educational institutions in Virginia, President Will Dudley has announced that Washington and Lee University will be taking a two-week recess before transitioning to virtual instruction with classes resuming March 30. During this time, the W&L campus will be closed to all visitors and all events will be postponed/cancelled.

In accordance with these policies and the actions of many of our museum colleagues along the East Coast, the Museums at W&L – Lee Chapel & Museum, the Reeves Museum, and Watson Gallery – will be closed and will not reopen until it is safe to do so. The Reeves Center and Watson Pavilion will be open only by appointment for W&L faculty, staff, and students with a valid W&L ID.

Even during these uncertain and unsettling times, the Museums at W&L remain committed to the mission of advancing learning through education and engagement with collections. Museums staff will be working particularly diligently towards the goal of providing as much digital content for our audiences as possible while the museum doors are closed to the public. For this and future operational updates, be sure to follow our Facebook (facebook.com/wlu.museums) and Instagram (@wlu.museums) pages and reach out with any questions through direct message or by emailing rwilliams@wlu.edu.


About Museums at W&L

The Museums at Washington and Lee University (Museums at W&L) support the university as an interdisciplinary teaching resource through the preservation, study, interpretation and exhibition of its collections. The Museums at W&L are composed of three areas that are administered collectively by the Director: The Lee Chapel & Museum; the Reeves Collection; and the Art Collection.

Visit Us

The Museums at W&L encompass three buildings on Washington and Lee’s campus. Visitors can enjoy exploring the Reeves Museum of Ceramics, Watson Galleries, and the Lee Chapel and Museum. Find out more information about operating hours, directions and educational opportunities here.

The Reeves Collection

The Reeves Collection contains ceramics made in Asia, Europe, and the Americas between 1500 and the present. These fragile yet durable objects provide a window onto the artistic, social, and economic history of the last five hundred years.

The Lee Chapel and Museum

Imbued with tradition, the Lee Chapel is a gathering place for the University's most important academic events. Concerts, lectures and other University activities take place regularly in the 500-seat auditorium. The upper level houses "Recumbent Lee," a statue by Edward Valentine. A state-of-the-art museum is housed in the lower level and includes Lee's office, an exhibition entitled Educating to Build and Rebuild a Nation, which traces the contributions to education made by George Washington and Robert E. Lee, a changing exhibition, and a museum shop.

Student Opportunities

Washington and Lee students who are interested in learning about museums and their collections have several opportunities to work with the Museums at W&L, whether with the Reeves Collection, the Lee Chapel, or the Art Collection.

Online Database

To view and search items from our collection use our online database. Records may at times be added or removed for editing.

Online Exhibits

To access online exhibits, visit our Omeka site. Staff from the Museums at W&L will continue to add exhibits as they open at our locations. At times exhibits may not be displayed due to editing.

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