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 Update: Museums at W&L to remain closed during Summer 2020

W&L President Will Dudley has accepted recommendations from a Summer Task Force that focuses the University's attention on creating a safe environment for our community during the summer and fall. As a result, the Museums at W&L will remain closed to external visitors this summer.

During this phase, and in keeping with other campus buildings, students and members of the general public will not be allowed in the museums. Visitors may tour outdoors, visiting our historic campus and the grounds of our museums, though no public restrooms will be available. ALL persons who come to campus and to University-owned and rented buildings and facilities must comply with six-foot social distancing, the Governor's order to wear a mask while inside buildings, and current limitations on the size of gatherings.

A decision regarding the fall status of our buildings will be made in July after the President makes his final announcement on the format of the fall term and after we have more information on the best practices to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

We appreciate the support of our visitors and online audience during this difficult time. Please follow the Museums at W&L on Facebook and bookmark our website for the most up-to-date announcements on reopening. To read the entirety of the official announcement regarding summer campus access, view the official summer campus access announcement.


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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