Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University to reopen with blockbuster exhibition on Aug. 11

Published: August 07, 2020
Font Size

Article body

The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University will reopen its doors with a new blockbuster touring exhibition and several added features on Tuesday, Aug. 11.

In alignment with Auburn’s schedule and operations model, the 40,000-square-foot facility will be back in business with a maximum capacity of 30 visitors at a time in phase one of its reopening, with face coverings required at all times and visitors asked to adhere to a six-foot social distancing requirement. Admission to the museum is free, and it will be open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST, with extended hours offered on Thursdays until 8 p.m. Phase two of the museum’s reopening will involve a timed ticket entry and online pre-registration later in the semester.

The touring exhibition “L’Affichomania: The Passion for French Posters!” highlights the museum’s return. Nearly 60 posters will be part of the exhibit, which is organized by International Arts & Artists of Washington, D.C.

The colorful lithographic posters will fill a trio of galleries within the museum and feature the works of five “grandmasters” of the art form—Jules Cheret, Eugene Grasset, Alphonse Mucha, Theophile-Alexandre Steinlen and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The touring exhibition is the work of curator Jeannine Falino and organized by The Richard H. Driehaus Museum in Chicago.

“L’Affichomania” explores the achievements of these artists in concert with the poster’s role in French society, which includes its effect on the life of the Parisian street, the rise of advertising, the entertainment district of Montmartre and the changing representations of women. Its representation of women aligns with the museum’s 2020 exhibition theme—the cultural contributions of women in recognition of the centennial of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

“The remarkable lives and stories of the women immortalized by these acclaimed artists are as dynamic as the prints themselves,” said Cindi Malinick, director and chief curator. “Many of these subjects received France’s highest order of merit, developed theatrical innovations and fought for social justice on a world stage. To present such a high-quality exhibition and once again welcome visitors to campus are some of the ways the museum remains an integral part of the university’s cultural life.”

In addition to the new exhibition, museum guests also can enjoy “Nurture—Audubon’s Nesting Imagery,” as well as a student-curated practicum exhibition titled “Impressionism—Translating the Modern World” that is a collaboration with the Auburn University Department of Art and Art History. The museum also is displaying a poster collection titled “Underground Images: A Half-Century of SVA Subway Posters Created by Women” from the School of Visual Arts in New York and its popular outdoor exhibition “Out of the Box” that has been extended through the spring of 2021.

Visitors may notice evidence of an ongoing experiment in the museum’s pond that is a partnership with the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences. The research project is aimed at improving the health of aquatic ecosystems, and the graduate student team tasked with the project—led by Professor Alan Wilson—is exploring the best ways to control harmful algal blooms, which can negatively affect ecosystems by producing poisonous toxins.

Children who make their way to the museum can get some fresh air and exercise on a new climbing gym that is a partnership with the School of Industrial and Graphic Design.

The Museum Shop will be open, but its café, Luster, remains temporarily closed. Anyone with questions regarding museum policies for the reopening should consult its FAQ page for more information.


The Richard H. Driehaus Museum explores the art, architecture and design of the late 19th and early 20th centuries with a focus on the Gilded Age. The museum is located just steps from the Magnificent Mile within the meticulously restored Nickerson Mansion, renowned as Gilded Age Chicago’s “Marble Palace.” The exquisite building was saved twice, first by a collective of over 100 Chicago citizens in 1919, and then by philanthropist Richard H. Driehaus, who sponsored its restoration from 2003-08. The museum features an outstanding collection of decorative arts—particularly Tiffany glass—as well as special exhibitions from other fine museums. The Driehaus Museum further illuminates the period through numerous educational and cultural programs.

International Arts & Artists in Washington, D.C., is a nonprofit arts service organization dedicated to increasing cross-cultural understanding and exposure to the arts internationally, through exhibitions, programs and services to artists, arts institutions and the public.

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.