Joslyn Art Museum Unveiled Renovated European Collection


May 30th, 2017

Photo courtesy of Joslyn Art Museum

Omaha, NE—Last Saturday, May 20th, the Joslyn Art Museum unveiled their newly renovated European Collection, spanning five galleries and several centuries ordered chronologically from the medieval, to Renaissance, to French Impressionism. Dana Cowen, associate curator at the Joslyn, showed the collection, illustrating its new direction.

Some improvements to the collection include four new acquisitions, newly included paintings from storage, and a new arrangement of works that provides a more engaging narrative. Walls were painted with careful choices of color to best compliment the precious works.

Cowen explained the decision to renovate the European collection

“The last reinstallation had occurred in 2000, and over that time period paintings and objects had shifted because things went on loan or things went into storage and so there was a loss of cogency to the historical narrative,” Cowen said. “When I came to the museum I knew right away that I wanted to tell an art historical story that would be easy for our visitors to understand and to learn from and so I just began thinking about how that would look, which direction the objects should go, and then basically did the research to make sure that everything went together. Then I looked for gaps in the collection.”

Another important addition to the collection is the integration of technology.

HIRSCHHORN: “So you mentioned the Ipad app. Is that something that’s new to the European collection that was not here before?”

COWEN: “Yes, so there has never been technology in the galleries at Joslyn Art Museum and this is the beginning into the foray of doing this. We want to see how visitors interact with it, we want to see if this is something that helps unveil layers of the collection for the interpretation and then perhaps if it is successful, we will move on and maybe do a broader, museum wide program.”

And what you can get from the Ipad app?

“It’s a lot of contextual information,” Cowen said. “It helps you understand the object. All objects have lives and so I wanted to focus on what happens during their lifetimes—where do they go, how do we study an object whether it be through scientific investigation or through knowledge of a sitter or through the process by which it’s made—and so each Ipad app delves deeper into those types of concepts.”

The Joslyn Art Museum is free for general admission and open to the public from 10am to 4pm every day except Monday, and is open Thursday until 8pm. For more information about the Joslyn and the European collection, visit

Cowen on Gallery 2

New Acquisitions

Gallery 3

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