University of Michigan Museum of Art announces longer hours, new fall exhibitions

University of Michigan student Lauren Roebuck dances inside UMMA's Museum Apse as part of the new "Claim Your Space" campaign. (MARK BIALEK, MARK BIALEK)

ANN ARBOR – The University of Michigan Museum of Art will be extending its fall hours and unveiling new exhibitions as the school community returns to campus.

This includes staying open until 8 p.m. Thursday through Sunday starting Sept. 7.

“We are offering later hours in order to make the museum space more accessible to more people, to allow more opportunities for people to come after work or school, or when nearby parking is free,” UMMA director of marketing and public relations Christopher Ankney said in a release.

New exhibitions will address themes of colonialism and racism, sexual identity, gender expression and representation.

“This is an important time for UMMA because people are still reeling from the ongoing pandemic, the country’s racial reckoning and a truly tumultuous year and a half,” UMMA Director Christina Olsen said in a release. “Museums are unique places where people can come together to reflect on what we’ve been through and to heal.

“Being present with art helps people interpret the past and present and put their own experiences in a larger context. It helps us reflect and make meaning of our lives.”

The museum also recently launched a new “Claim Your Space” campaign which encourages visitors to engage with UMMA in new ways and feel a sense of belonging.

“We want to recognize that there are many who haven’t felt welcome or haven’t seen themselves represented on the museum walls in the past,” Ankney said in a release. “We want people to know that everyone’s story and experience has meaning and a place in history—and we’re working to right that wrong.”

For the campaign, UMMA created a short film with student group Filmic that features U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance student and choreographer Lauren Roebuck dance in various locations at the museum to music composed by fellow SMTD student Samuel Uribe-Botero.

Ads featuring Roebuck and “Claim Your Space” will be posted throughout campus and inside UMMA.

UMMA is currently open to the public on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

All visitors are required to wear face coverings and must complete a ResponsiBLUE health screening prior upon arrival to the museum.

Exhibitions on view or opening soon, according to an UMMA release, include:

  • Unsettling Histories: Legacies of Slavery and Colonialism: This exhibition critiques long histories of art museums favoring colonial voices. Updated labels about works in UMMA’s collection, new works from contemporary artists and a confrontation of uncomfortable truths reveals a more complex and honest view of 18th and 19th century American and European art. On view now.
  • Oh, Honey ... A Queer Rading of UMMA’s Collection: What makes a work of art, or a space, queer? Who decides? In a first for  UMMA, student fellow Sean Kramer presents an exhibition of art in UMMA’s collection, curated from his unique lens as an LGBTQ+ graduate student at U-M. Opening Aug. 21.
  • We Write To You About Africa: Doubling the space dedicated to African art at UMMA, this exhibition explores the ways in which Africa and the art of the African diaspora has been treated in the Global North. Opening Aug. 21.
  • Wish You Were Here: African Art and Restitution: In this exhibition, UMMA will host an in-public investigation into 11 works of African art in the museum’s collection. Visitors—in-person and online—will have access to documents, photographs and correspondence that are being used by UMMA to develop a better understanding of each object’s history. The museum will grapple, in real time, with questions surrounding legal and ethical ownership of these artworks. Opening Aug. 21.

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About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.