‘Tis the season: December events and exhibitions at U-M
The University of Michigan welcomes one and all to its many museums, gallery exhibitions, and holiday events to get in the spirit throughout the month of December.
Museum of Natural History
The Museum of Natural History includes displays on prehistoric life (with the most extensive dinosaur exhibits in the state), Michigan wildlife, anthropology, geology and a digital planetarium. Throughout the month of December, the Museum of Natural History will offer visitors opportunities to reflect on the role the Museum has played in their lives, culminating with a free “Last Day at the Museum” on Saturday, December 30, 2017, for families and a ticketed, adults-only “Last Night at the Museum” New Year’s Eve party on December 31.
Last Day at the Museum
The Last Day at the Museum will be a fun-filled day of memory and celebration on Saturday, December 30, 2017. Meet U-M scientists, decorate your own Last Day party hat, and send a fond farewell to your favorite exhibits before they make the move across the walkway. This event is free and open to the public.
Last Night at the Museum
Celebrate and honor the last night at the U-M Museum of Natural History in the Ruthven Museums Building on Sunday, December 31, 2017. This gala reception will include strolling hors d’oeuvres, dancing and a champagne toast at midnight. Proceeds will support the Museum’s strategic initiatives. Adults only—21 and older. Purchase tickets here.
Explore both the permanent as well as the temporary exhibits including:
Object Lessons: Recollecting Museum Histories at Michigan: Showcasing original objects dating from 1837 to the present, Object Lessons affords visitors a synthetic look at 200 years of collecting for science. Museum specimens, artifacts and documents from the archives bring into focus the University Museum’s importance to early state history, its first global collecting expeditions, the changing relationship between culture and nature, science and religion; and the transformation of research and collecting practices from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries.
Museum on the Move: U-M’s Museum of Natural History will be moving into a new facility, opening in 2019. Come discover where we’ve come from and where we’re headed in this new exhibit about our past and future. View fascinating historic images and plans for the new museum, and revisit past exhibit favorites retrieved from our archives.
Bristle Mammoth Exhibit: The mammoth remains found near Chelsea, Michigan, last fall will be on view through Dec. 31. The Bristle Mammoth (pronounced BRIS-lee) is named for James and Melody Bristle, the farming family who found the remains on their property and donated them to the University. Visitors will be able to touch one of the Bristle Mammoth’s bones, see some of the evidence for human activity at this site (such as the removal of edible tissues from parts of the carcass), and explore how the Bristle Mammoth’s bones, teeth and tusks will help scientists understand how these animals lived and why they went extinct.
Extreme Time: Think you know all about time? What about things that happen in femtoseconds or eons? Time in the natural world is so extreme, it is hard to perceive most of its scale unaided, which is the focus of this new exhibit.
Location: The Museum of Natural History is free and open to the public at 1109 Geddes Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109. Hours: Mon.–Sun. 9 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sun., 12–5 p.m.; Open Dec. 27-30, 9 a.m.-5 p.m; Closed on University holidays.
Museum of Art
The University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA), is one of the oldest and largest and university art museums in the country. Their collection comprises more than 21,000 works of art that span cultures, eras, and media, with works on view by world renowned artists like James McNeill Whistler, Helen Frankenthaler, Pablo Picasso, Joshua Reynolds, Kara Walker, Claude Monet, Frank Lloyd Wright and Andy Warhol, among many others. In addition to their permanent collection, UMMA hosts nearly 20 special exhibitions and over 100 events each year. Current exhibitions include:
Tim Noble and Sue Webster: The Masterpiece: Since the 1980s, British artists Tim Nobel and Sue Webster have been known for their shadow sculptures built from materials as diverse as scrap metal, garbage, taxidermy and sex toys. The Masterpiece (2014) is a shadow self-portrait of the artists created from metal casts of dead vermin they collected and welded together into a ball.
Matisse Drawings: Curated by Ellsworth Kelly from The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation Collection: This exhibition showcases the master draftsmanship of two of the most significant artists of the twentieth century: Henri Matisse (1869–1954) and Ellsworth Kelly (1923–2015). Curated by Kelly in 2014, the exhibition speaks to his admiration for Matisse, as well as to the importance of drawing in both artists’ practices. To accompany forty-five works by Matisse, Kelly selected nine of his own lithographic drawings. Together, the works by Matisse and Kelly form a visually striking artistic dialogue, allowing viewers to experience one artist through the eyes of another.
In Focus: Paul Rand: Throughout the second half of the twentieth century, pioneering art director and graphic designer Paul Rand (1914–1996) was celebrated for crafting the brand identities of such American corporate icons as ABC, IBM, UPS, and Westinghouse. This recent acquisition presentation features the poster Rand created as part of IBM’s THINK promotional campaign.
Gloss: Modeling Beauty: Focusing on the prominent role of women as the subject of photography, Gloss: Modeling Beauty explores the shifting ideals of female beauty that pervade European and American visual culture from the 1920s to today. The exhibition features images of sleek and poised female models and celebrities destined for the glossy pages of fashion magazines and catalogs by leading photographers such as Edward Steichen, Philippe Halsman, Helmut Newton, Andy Warhol, and Guy Bourdin.
Power Contained: The Art of Authority in Central and West Africa: Drawing on works from UMMA’s collection and several loans, the exhibition demonstrates how authority was expressed and power contained across a range of historical cultures in Nigeria, Ghana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cameroon. This exhibition will be on view through December 31, 2017.
Cosmogonic Tattoos: In celebration of the U-M Bicentennial in 2017, artist and distinguished U-M art professor Jim Cogswell created a series of public window installations. The installation features a procession of vivid images that are based on the holdings of UMMA and the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology.
For all of your holiday gift needs, visit the UMMA Store or shop online.
Location: UMMA is free and open to the public at 525 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109. Hours: Tues.–Sat., 11a.m.–5pm; Sun. 12–5 p.m.; Closed Mondays & University holidays
Kelsey Museum of Archaeology
The Kelsey Museum houses a collection of more than 100,000 ancient and medieval objects from the civilizations of the Mediterranean and the Near East. Among the objects on view is a colorfully painted Egyptian mummy coffin, magical amulets from the ancient Near East, an array of glass vessels, Greek pottery, a unique large-scale watercolor representation of the famous Villa of the Mysteries murals from ancient Pompeii, and more. View both the permanent galleries and the special exhibition.
Excavating Archaeology @ U-M: 1817–2017: This exhibition celebrates the rich history of archaeology at the University of Michigan over the past two centuries. While today archaeologists teach in several U-M academic departments, this exhibition focuses on the University’s two archaeology museums: the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology, founded in 1922, and the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, founded in 1928.
Location: The Kelsey Museum is free and open to the public at 434 S. State St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109. Hours: Tues.–Fri., 9 am–4 p.m.; Sat.–Sun., 1–4 p.m.; Closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Open Dec. 26–Dec. 29, 11 a.m.–4 p.m., Regular hours resume Tues., Jan. 2.
Matthaei Botanical Gardens
The Matthaei Botanical Gardens is a 350-acre site that offers an indoor plant conservatory and greenhouse, and outdoor sites for research, display gardens, native plant gardens, natural areas and ongoing ecological restoration. Explore the conservatory as well as the holiday exhibit.
Holiday Exhibit: Sacred Plants – Stories of Myth, Ritual, and Lore: Focusing on plants in the conservatory collection, the holiday exhibit explores how certain plants figure in myth, lore, and ritual for cultures around the world. This annual winter/holiday event also features seasonal flowers, decorated trees, kids activities, holiday items in the Garden Store, and more. Matthaei-Nichols members will receive a discount from the garden store. All programs are free except for kids’ greens workshop on December. 9. This exhibit will be on view through January 7, 2018.
Body & Soul—How Nature Speaks through Art: In “Body & Soul,” plants and nature may symbolize or stand for something larger, mystical, or even divine, in all the meanings of those words. Community and regional artists show their interpretation of how nature tells a story through art about spirituality, mystery, or even the divine. This exhibition will be on view through January 7, 2018.
Location: Matthaei is free and open to the public at 1800 N.Dixboro Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48105. Hours: Conservatory is open daily, 10 a.m.–8 p.m., Trails open sunrise to sunset. Holiday Hours: Closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve, open New Year’s Day, 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
The Nichols Arboretum—also referred to as “The Arb”—is a 123–acre site near Central Campus that provides a unique opportunity to explore the ongoing interaction of humans and the natural world. The Arb contains specialty gardens, historic and culturally significant collections, areas of native Michigan ecosystems, active areas of ecological restoration and access to the Huron River. Visitors can celebrate the U-M Bicentennial by going on The Grandmother Tree Walk—a self-guided tour of 12 historic trees in The Arb. Maps are available at the Arboretum visitor center, Matthaei Botanical Gardens and online.
Location: The Nichols Arboretum is free and open to the public at 1610 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. Hours: The Arboretum is open 7 days a week, sunrise to sunset.
With over 20 galleries on campus, various U-M departments and libraries are committed to exploring artistic expression through many different subjects outside of traditional museum spaces. From Humanities to Women’s Studies, and the School of Natural Resources—stop in to view the many exhibitions on view this month.
Lane Hall Gallery
The Institute for Research on Women and Gender and the Women’s Studies Department present a regular schedule of art exhibitions in Lane Hall’s lobby, an intimate space, conducive to seeing, reflection, and study. Chicana Fotos, an exhibition of Chicana photography documenting the 1970s, will be on view through December 13, 2017.
Chicana Fotos: “Chicana Fotos” features photographs by accomplished filmmaker and writer, Nancy De Los Santos, who has dedicated her life and career to rewriting and redefining images of Latina/os in mainstream media. With large colorful imagery, De Los Santos offers a striking depiction of the struggles for social justice during the 1970s.
Location: The Lane Hall Gallery is free and open to the public at 204 State St., Ann Arbor, MI, 48109. Hours: Mon.–Fri., 8 a.m.–5 p.m.; Closed Sat.–Sun. & University holidays.
The Stamps Gallery is the School’s new exhibition space in downtown Ann Arbor, located at 201 S. Division Street on the first floor of the McKinley Towne Centre (between Liberty and Washington). With nearly 8,000 square feet of exhibition space, the Stamps Gallery will house rotating exhibitions of contemporary art and design, including work by Stamps students, faculty, and alums.
2017 Undergraduate Juried Exhibition: The Stamps School’s annual Undergraduate Juried Exhibition, a showcase of the best work produced by Stamps undergraduate students, is on view Friday, November 10-Saturday, December 16, 2017 in the Stamps Gallery (201 S. Division St.). A highly anticipated Stamps School tradition, the Undergraduate Juried Exhibition provides an opportunity for the school to support students whose creative work is recognized as exceptional by invited jurors, with thousands of dollars in awards.
Location: The Stamps Gallery is free and open to the public at 201 S. Division St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104. Hours: Tues.–Sat., 12–7 p.m. Closed Sun.–Mon.
Institute for the Humanities Gallery
The gallery at the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities is a unique meeting place for the exchange and interchange of ideas. Each exhibition serves as a starting point for collaboration and critical inquiry, bringing new perspectives to the institute and actively engaging the community with the humanities. View the current exhibition, American Berserk, through December 21, 2017.
American Berserk: Throughout her career, Brooklyn-based artist Valerie Hegarty has explored fundamental themes of American history and particularly the legacy of 19th-century American art. The show includes a group of ceramic sculptures and a mixed-media site-specific sculpture jutting from the wall. Hegarty’s anarchic, revisionist take on American history as manifested in the nation’s artistic legacy is embodied in her fantastical works.
Location: The Institute for Humanities Gallery is free and open to the public at 202 S. Thayer St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109. Hours: Mon.–Fri., 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Closed on University holidays.
Gifts of Art Galleries
Location: Gifts of Art galleries and performances are free and open to the public at 1500 E. Medical Center Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48109. Hours: Events and performance time varies, galleries are open during hospital visiting hours.
The U-M Library system consists of 30 libraries that house a variety of collections and exhibitions—visit the libraries for a unique experience.
Hatcher Graduate Library, Audubon Room
The Audubon Room provides a dedicated space for the display of some of the greatest treasures from the Library’s collections. The Life and Times of Lizzy Bennet showcases significant early editions of Jane Austen’s work, and a broad swath of materials revealing the historical milieu in which she and her characters lived.
Location: The Audubon Room is located in the Hatcher Graduate Library at 913 S. University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109. Hours: Mon.–Fri., 8:30 a.m.–6 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Sun., 2–6 p.m. Closed Dec. 23, 2017-Jan. 1, 2018
Clark Library Exhibition Space
The Clark Library Exhibition Space in the Hatcher Graduate Library, hosts a number of exhibitions, lectures, and performances including Creating a Campus: A Cartographic Celebration of U-M’s Bicentennial, an exploration of U-M’s campus history and architecture, both before its creation and throughout its continuous evolution.
Location: The Clark Library is located on the 2nd floor of the Hatcher Graduate Library at 913 S. University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109. Hours: Daily, 8 a.m.–11:45 p.m. Closed Dec. 23, 2017-Jan. 1, 2018
William L. Clements Library
The William L. Clements Library houses original resources for the study of American history and culture from the 15th through the 19th century. Both the library itself and the Avenir Reading Room house temporary and semi-permanent exhibitions including:
The Pioneer Americanists: Early Collectors, Dealers, and Bibliographers: This exhibit is a captivating look at the lives and careers of eight generations of outstanding Americanists prior to 1900. It features books, manuscripts and pictorial material about White Kennett, Isaiah Thomas, James Lenox, Joseph Sabin, John Carter Brown, Lyman Copeland Draper, George Brinley Jr., and the other noteworthy specialists who created and nurtured the Americana field from the late seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries.
Collecting the Clements Library, 1903–2016: This exhibit tells the story of collecting at the Clements Library from William L. Clements’ original efforts to the current day.
Location: Access to the Avenir Reading Room is through the south entrance of the Clements Library, located at 909 S University Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48109. Hours: Fridays from 10 a.m.–4 p.m., and by special arrangement. Closed Dec. 23, 2017-Jan. 1, 2018
December 15, 16, 17
The Ann Arbor Ballet Theatre will perform this holiday classic at the Power Center for the Performing Arts. Plan on arriving early to enjoy the festive holiday music performed by the Suzuki Violin Musicians. Purchase tickets here.
Violins of the season
The Ann Arbor Suzuki Institute provides music instruction for children based on the idea that music learning can be like language learning. These children delight in sharing their music with people around the area. You will hear some classical pieces, but mostly Christmas, Hanukkah and other holiday music. Away from campus for the Holidays? Like the Gifts of Art Facebook Page to livestream Thursday performances.
Strolling Victorian caroling
In picturesque costumes of 19th-century England, this a cappella vocal ensemble will perform four-part harmonies in patient care areas, creating a festive holiday atmosphere. Away from campus for the Holidays? Like the Gifts of Art Facebook Page to livestream Thursday performances.
Jovial 19th century holiday music
Sing and laugh with the Dodworth Duo and the music of America’s past. Soprano Carol Ambrogio-Wood and classical tenor Ted Badgerow bring music from the 19th century Dodworth era (1835-1895) with a variety of instruments (guitar, flute and harmonica) and encourage audience participation and requests. Like the Gifts of Art Facebook Page to livestream Thursday performances.