Kemper Art Museum receives federal IMLS grant to support conservation survey​

Willem de Kooning, Saturday Night, 1956. Oil on canvas, 68 3/4 x 79″. Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis. University purchase, Bixby Fund, 1956. © 2013 The Willem de Kooning Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

The Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, part of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, has received a $36,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The grant will support a detailed conservation study of the 337 paintings in the museum’s permanent collection.

The award is one of 244 grants, totaling nearly $30 million, announced today by the IMLS. It is one of only three grants in the state of Missouri (the others being the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City and the Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum).

“As one of the oldest teaching museums in the country, the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum is committed to engaging the public through exhibitions, education and historical scholarship,” said Sabine Eckmann, the William T. Kemper Director and Chief Curator of the Kemper Art Museum.

“We also are dedicated to preserving our world-class collection for future generations,” Eckmann continued. “This grant, and the work it supports, will enable us to identify those objects most critically in need of conservation; to develop treatment proposals and cost estimates; and to guide long-range planning for their care.”

Eckmann adds that the museum, which does not have a staff conservator, will more than match the federal funds, dedicating an additional $37,000 to the project.

This is the third conservation grant the museum has received in recent years. In 2009, the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded it $4,850 to undertake a similar conservation study of its collection of Greek pottery. In 2011, it received $33,000 to conduct a survey of its sculpture collection.

IMLS Director Susan Hildreth noted that, on Sept. 18, the agency will host a recognition ceremony for grant recipients on Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C. The event will showcase the role of museums in supporting learning experiences, anchoring communities and stewarding our shared cultural and scientific heritage.

“It is exciting to see the many ways our newly announced grants further these important museum roles,” Hildreth said. “I congratulate the slate of 2013 museum grant recipients for planning projects that advance innovation in museum practice, lifelong learning and community engagement.”

George Caleb Bingham, Daniel Boone Escorting Settlers through the Cumberland Gap, 1851–52. Oil on canvas, 36 1/2 x 50 1/4″. Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis. Gift of Nathaniel Phillips, 1890.

Institute of Museum and Library Services

The IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Its grant making, policy development and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow the IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.

Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum

The Kemper Art Museum, part of Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, is committed to furthering critical thinking and visual literacy through a vital program of exhibitions, publications and accompanying events. The museum dates back to 1881, making it the oldest art museum west of the Mississippi River. Today it boasts one of the finest university collections in the United States. To learn more, visit and follow the museum on Facebook and Twitter.