The Fleming Museum of Art has a permanent collection of over 20,000 objects that includes art and artifacts from as early as Mesopotamia and as recently as the 21st century. The collection began in 1826 and over the years has served as both a repository for art and artifacts as well as an instrument for collecting. More recently, the museum staff has taken a more systematic, planned approach to acquisition.
On permanent display is art from the Middle East, China, Japan, India, Egypt, and Africa, as well as a large collection of European and American art. The museum hosts nine exhibitions a year in three changing galleries. Exhibitions may be traveling shows or exhibitions curated from the museum’s own collection. Rotating exhibitions tend to be fresh and extremely well-curated and accompanied by gallery talks, art lectures, concerts, and other events.
The other reason to visit the Fleming is the building itself. Built in 1931 to house the growing collection, the Fleming is exemplary of the Colonial Revival style. Red brick walls are bordered by white wood trim. The building includes a delightful collection of details–balustrades, pilasters, pediments and entablatures–which mark early American architectural styles. The architect of the Fleming Museum was William Mitchell Kendall, whose firm, the prestigious McKim, Mead, and White, also designed several other buildings on campus, namely Ira Allen Chapel and the Waterman Building.
One enters the museum through what was originally the rear and what is now a handicapped-accessible area completed in 1984. Through the original back brick wall of the museum, one enters the Wilbur Room, a walnut-paneled room with a groin-vaulted, white plaster ceiling, from which a large brass chandelier hangs prominently. Continuing through the building, one enters the Marble Court marked by classic columns and a grand marble staircase.
The Fleming Museum of Art
61 Colchester Avenue
University of Vermont
Art Map Burlington U48
The museum is open from Labor Day to June 30: Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 10AM-4PM; Wednesday, 10AM-7PM; Saturday and Sunday, Noon-4PM. Always closed on Monday, from mid-December to mid-January for the University of Vermont’s winter recess and President’s Day Weekend, Memorial Day Weekend, Labor Day Weekend, and Thanksgiving Recess.