The Chazen Museum of Art makes its home between two lakes on the beautiful campus of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Within walking distance of the state capitol, it sits squarely in the heart of a vibrant college town. The Chazen’s expansive two-building site holds the second-largest collection of art in Wisconsin, and is the largest collecting museum in the Big 10. Within its 176,000 square feet of museum space is a collection of approximately 23,000 works of art covering diverse historical periods, cultures and geographic locations, from ancient Greece, Western Europe and the Soviet Empire to Moghul India, 18th-century Japan and modern Africa.
The Chazen Museum of Art opened in 1970 as the Elvehjem Art Center to further the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s mission of education, research, and public service. In 1978 it became the Elvehjem Museum of Art, and in 2005, in honor of a lead gift toward expansion, was renamed the Chazen Museum of Art. The expansion opened in October 2011, doubling the size of the museum. The new building is joined to the Conrad A. Elvehjem building by a dramatic and functional bridge gallery. The Elvehjem Building is dedicated to the memory of the president of the UW–Madison from 1958 to 1962.
We collect, preserve, interpret, and exhibit works of art and present related educational programs in support of the teaching, research, and public service mission of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. We do this because the visual arts enrich individual human experience and because knowledge of art is essential to understanding diverse cultures, past and present.
Chazen Museum of Art Student Ambassadors recognize and support the value of the Chazen Museum of Art by connecting students with the museum. Ambassadors advise Chazen leadership on student and community centered initiatives, and support activities hosted by the museum. The Chazen Ambassadors are committed to continuing education and appreciation for the visual arts for their members and all UW–Madison students. They host events for students at the museum and plan unique experiences for their members to further engage with the museum’s collection*. Recent activities have included Late Night at the Museum, Swing Dance Night, Valentine Tours, Trivia Night, Flashlight Tours and Back to School Bash. To join the Chazen Museum of Art Student Ambassadors, request membership through the Wisconsin Involvement Network or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Due to current restrictions from COVID-19 the Chazen Ambassadors will be engaging UW–Madison students with the museum through a variety of virtual experiences until further notice.
Exhibition Proposal Procedure
The Chazen Museum’s exhibition program is determined by the Museum’s Chief Curator in concert with the Director and is planned two to three years in advance. When assessing exhibition proposals, consideration is given to the academic nature of the exhibition, the feasibility for the Museum to facilitate the exhibition, those exhibitions that already appear on the exhibition schedule, and the cost required to host the exhibition.
Conservation and Valuation Information
The Chazen Museum of Art is approached occasionally to render appraisals; however, University of Wisconsin policy does not permit this activity by staff members. While we cannot endorse or recommend the service of an appraiser, we provide this list of local appraisers.