The Johnson Museum of Art aspires to be among the top university art museums in the country, focusing on teaching, research, collecting, and public engagement. Endowment growth is central to achieving the Museum’s ambitious goals to serve as a welcoming, vibrant center where faculty, students, and the public can experience great works of art and new ideas—now and for generations to come.

We consider the Museum to be the region’s largest and most inspiring classroom, promoting a collaborative culture of thought and inquiry in the visual arts by connecting academic units across the entire Cornell campus and for a large public audience. Open free of charge six days each week year-round, the Museum welcomes nearly 90,000 visitors annually and plays a major role in the mission of the University.

An endowment gift provides a highly visible and lasting tribute to an individual or family whose extraordinary philanthropic contributions deserve recognition and commemoration. Endowments remain named, by designation of the donor, in perpetuity.

For more information about how your gift can have the most impact at the Museum, please contact Courtney Campbell, the Museum's director of development.

Endowed Curatorial Positions

Collection curators partner with faculty and students to teach, organize exhibitions and museum-based courses, care for and build the collection through gift and acquisitions, and continually seek to develop conferences, symposia, and public programs that will inspire the next generation of creative visual arts leaders. Curatorial endowments are essential to achieving the Museum’s ambitious goals to successfully integrate the Johnson into all facets of education and life of the community.

Art Acquisitions

The heart of the Johnson Museum is its permanent collection. The Museum seeks to acquire high-quality works that enhance the existing collection and develop it in new directions, including building on strengths in non-Western traditions. The Museum has recently developed a collections plan to guide these acquisitions.

Art Conservation

Caring for the permanent collection requires funds for art conservation. There are currently no designated funds for the preservation of existing works in the collection as well as new gifts and acquisitions. Stabilizing works of art or bringing objects to presentable display condition demonstrates proper stewardship and provides opportunities for scholarly discovery and aesthetic revelation.


Johnson Museum exhibitions—both from the permanent collection and temporary loan shows—are designed to inform, inspire, challenge, and delight. Currently the Museum relies heavily on outside grant funding and private donor support for the majority of its exhibitions. Additional endowment funds would enhance the Museum’s ability to organize major exhibitions that respond to the University curriculum and faculty research, scholarly research related to the permanent collection, and collaborations with other museums.

Publications and Website

Among the Johnson Museum’s long-term goals is to increase production of scholarly publications in print and online, including exhibition and collection catalogues. An endowed fund for publications with opportunities to incorporate more expansive online information would provide greatly needed support to help curatorial, faculty, and student research and discoveries reach a wider public.