About the Museum
The Ackland Art Museum is one of the preeminent cultural institutions in the state of North Carolina. The Ackland’s encyclopedic permanent collection consists of over 18,000 works of art, including a renowned collection of Asian art, as well as large collections by European masters; twentieth-century and contemporary art; photographs; and North Carolina pottery. The Ackland was founded through the bequest of William Hayes Ackland, a Nashville-born patron of the theater and the visual arts who, “wanted the people of his native South to know and love the fine arts.” Ackland’s trust, awarded to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, funded the construction of the museum building and continues to fund new purchases of art. The Ackland acquires pieces that demonstrate artistic excellence; that relate to existing collections, and that offer potential for teaching and learning.
A selection of the Ackland’s permanent collection is always on display. In addition, the Museum features 10-12 changing exhibitions each year, with over half of the Museum’s gallery space dedicated to special and traveling exhibitions on a range of artistic styles. The Museum functions as an extension of the classroom at UNC-Chapel Hill. Its Ackland Upstairs gallery, which allows faculty of UNC-Chapel Hill to have eight to ten works of art installed for the in-person use of their classes, is also open to museum visitors. The Ackland also offers a number of programs for K-12 students and community members, including the 2nd Friday Artwalk, Yoga in the Galleries, Art Adventures, and Drawing for Tweens.