Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art

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Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art
Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art is located in Nevada
Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art
Location in Nevada
Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art is located in the United States
Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art
Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art (the United States)
Established1967; 53 years ago (1967)
Location4505 Maryland Parkway
UNLV campus, Paradise, Las Vegas NV USA
Coordinates 36°06′28″N 115°08′15″W / 36.107696°N 115.137393°W / 36.107696; -115.137393
Type Contemporary Art

The Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art (MSM; formerly known as the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Natural History) is a museum located on the main campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), established in 1967. [1] The museum was originally instituted as a natural history museum with a focus on the natural history and environment of Nevada and the broader Southwestern United States. [2] In December 2011, the Barrick joined the UNLV College of Fine Arts and became the anchor of the Galleries at UNLV. The six galleries and one museum that make up the Galleries are each entities in their own right linked via a common administration. The Marjorie Barrick Museum (the Barrick), is a well-known venue for engaging exhibitions and events and promotes engagement with the visual arts among a broad community including UNLV students, faculty, and staff; the greater Las Vegas community; and the national and international art community.


The founding of a natural history museum at the university—then an institution only a decade old, known as Nevada Southern University [3]—began with a collection of specimens from the Desert Research Institute (DRI), the Nevada System of Higher Education's graduate research institute. In September 1967, the DRI opened a small museum facility in premises across from the university's grounds, as part of an expansion of DRI's activities into southern Nevada. The museum was created under the direction of archaeologist Richard H. Brooks, assistant research professor at the university and a researcher (later director) of the DRI-affiliated Nevada Archaeological Survey. Its exhibits consisted of DRI's local collection of living desert animal specimens and Native American artifacts. [4]

In 1969 the university took over the management of the museum from DRI. [5] Brooks remained as director of the university-affiliated museum, and during his tenure, the museum's funding was established and further permanent exhibits acquired. [6] The most significant acquisition occurred in 1979, when a private collection of pre-Columbian art was donated by a former UNLV alumna, Mannetta Braunstein, and her husband Michael. These pieces would form the basis of a broadening collection of Mesoamerican and Aridoamerican cultural artifacts, acquired through other donations and further additions from the Braunsteins' purchases in Latin American markets. [7]

In the late 1970s, the museum began the process of relocating to premises situated on the UNLV campus, to occupy a building that had contained the university's original gymnasium. Renovations to accommodate the museum were completed in 1981. Further alterations and expansions to the building were subsequently undertaken, and a research laboratory wing was added in 1994. [5]

Beginning in 1979 the museum's anthropological collections were greatly expanded, with the subsequent additions of donated collections of ethnographic and archaeological artifacts representing Native American and pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures. [8]

Brooks left the position in 1981. [6] His successor as museum director was ornithologist and former UNLV president (1973–78) Donald Baepler, who was returning to the university campus after a three-year term as chancellor of the Nevada university system. [9] Baepler was instrumental in establishing UNLV's Harry Reid Environmental Research Center, and the museum was reorganized to become one of the center's operating divisions. Baepler retired as museum director in 2004, retained a title as emeritus executive director of the museum. [10]

In 1989 the museum was renamed in honor of Marjorie Barrick, a longstanding benefactor of the university. [11] In 1980 Barrick, a prominent philanthropist married to a Las Vegas real estate developer, had gifted UNLV with an endowment of some $1.2 million from her late husband's estate, to fund an ongoing series of public lectures at the university. Speakers at the Barrick Lecture Series have included international figures and heads of state, such as Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Mikhail Gorbachev and F. W. de Klerk. [12]

In 2011, the Barrick closed its doors to undergo a change of hands with departments as well as begin remodeling of the museum. The Marjorie Barrick ceased to be affiliated with the Harry Reid Center and Department of Archaeology and is now a part of the College of Fine Arts at UNLV. The entire museum underwent drastic renovations, from its Collections Room [13] to the Exhibition Hall, which changed how the public is able to interact with the space from piece to piece.

After the Las Vegas Art Museum (or LVAM) closed its doors in 2009, their collection was left without a home. In 2012 the LVAM collection moved to the newly renovated Barrick Museum, as part of a partnership between LVAM and UNLV. [14]


The Collections at the Marjorie Barrick Museum include:

  • The Barrick Art Collection

–The Barrick Museum is committed to collecting art of the present. This commitment is supported entirely through the generosity of artists and collectors who donate in-kind gifts of art. The bulk of the works in the collection include artists with ties to the greater Las Vegas valley forming a heritage collection of works created in and inspired by the Southern Nevada region. [14]

  • The Barrick Cultural Collection

–The cultural collection began to form in 1969 and includes cultural objects from the American Southwest and Mesoamerica. The Pre-Columbian collection was initiated in 1979 with a gift from Dr. Michael C. and Mannetta Braunstein. Today, the museum's holdings include the Dr. Michael C. and Mannetta Braunstein Collection, a comprehensive collection of Pre-Columbian objects from nearly every culture of Pre-Columbian Latin America, as well as Mexican dance masks and retablos; Guatemalan, Bolivian, and Navajo textiles; Paiute and Hopi basketry; and Navajo jewelry. A variety of methodologies have been used at different times to collect, classify, analyze, and describe collection material, and the collections provide rich primary source information for multi-, cross-, and interdisciplinary studies. The Museum is compliant with guidelines mandates by the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). [14]

  • The LVAM Collection

–Works in the collection include national and international artists such as Llyn Foulkes and William T. Wiley, as well as a significant representation of UNLV graduates. [14]

  • The Vogel Collection

–The Barrick Museum houses the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel 50x50 Collection. In 2010, UNLV was the recipient of 50 contemporary works from the celebrated collectors. Beginning in 1962, New York postal clerk, Herbert Vogel, and his librarian wife, Dorothy, began collecting contemporary works of art. The couple dedicated all of Herb's salary to buying art, and in a few decades had amassed a collection encompassing some 4,000 works. Today, these works form one of the most remarkable collections of contemporary art in America. Motivated by the desire to share their collection with the public, the couple developed a program to gift 50 works to one institution in each of the 50 states. This program became known as Vogel 50x50. The collection includes the work by such notables as Stephen Antonakos, Neil Jenney, Lynda Benglis, Lucio Pozzi, Edda Renouf, Bettina Werner and Richard Tuttle. [14]


  • Marjorie Barrick Museum Auditorium [15]
  • Marjorie Barrick Museum Exhibition Hall


  1. ^ AASLH (2002, p.506); Danilov (2005, p.205)
  2. ^ Taylor (2008)
  3. ^ The university was officially founded in 1957 as the Southern Division of the University of Nevada. The university's name was formally changed to UNLV in 1969.
  4. ^ Mikkelsen (2001); Slaughter (2007, p.2)
  5. ^ a b Mikkelsen (2001)
  6. ^ a b Slaughter (2007, p.2)
  7. ^ UNLV Foundation (n.d.)
  8. ^ "Cultural Collections". Collections. Marjorie Barrick Museum. n.d. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
  9. ^ Moehring (2007, p.92); Mower & Wills (2008)
  10. ^ Mower & Wills (2008)
  11. ^ Moehring (2007, p.89); Mower (2007)
  12. ^ Danilov (2005, p.205); Moehring (2007, pp.99,129); Mower (2007)
  13. ^ Giguet, Aurore; Director, Program (February 10, 2012). "There's something going on at the Barrick".
  14. ^ a b c d e "Collections | Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art | University of Nevada, Las Vegas".
  15. ^ "Delicate Questions". The Rebel Yell. 2009-03-19. Archived from the original on 30 March 2009. Retrieved 29 March 2009.


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