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SummerArts: College Art Museums

Chazen Museum of Art (Madison, WI)

750 University Ave.

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UW-Madison’s Chazen Museum of Art was, for most of its existence, big – now, it’s crossed the line to gargantuan. Housed in the 90,000-square foot Conrad Elvehjem building since its opening in 1970, the Chazen nearly doubled in size in October 2011 with the dedication of a second building. This second, as yet unnamed, building is conjoined with the Elvehjem via a third-story walkway and features an auditorium for film and lectures, new gallery space, and a grand lobby.

The Chazen’s collection is the second-largest in the state of Wisconsin, numbering approximately twenty thousand pieces; it runs the gamut from ancient to modern, with concentrations in Chinese art, Soviet socialist illustration, and portrait medals. For those who can’t make their way to Madison, the Chazen recently digitized its entire collection, which is readily searchable on its website. The museum also offers docent-guided tours, various educational and social activities (receptions, family days and the like), summertime mini-classes for members, and, beginning in November 2011, a film series in the new building’s auditorium. (JM)

Chazen Museum of Art Information

  • Public Transportation: Excellent (easily accessible by buses 11, 27, 28, 38, 80, and 82 at University Avenue/Park Street and buses 81 and 85 at Langdon Street/Park Street)
  • Handicapped Accessibility: Good
  • Hours: Tuesday–Friday 9 a.m.–5 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday 11 a.m.–5 p.m.; Closed Mondays and major holidays
  • Admission: Free
  • Tour: Tours can be scheduled Tuesday–Friday 9 a.m.–4 p.m. or Saturday–Sunday 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Most tours last one hour. Appointments for tours must be made at least three weeks in advance. Guided tours are free of charge for nonprofit organizations; a donation of $25 per docent is suggested for all other groups. A self-guided audio tour is also available
  • Membership: Individual membership begins at $35 (Family $50; Senior (62+) and full time students $25). Member benefits include a subscription to the Artscene and Calendar newsletters; printed announcements to upcoming exhibitions; reserved seating for the Sunday Afternoon Live Concerts; a 15% discount at the Museum Shop; reduced prices on educational group trips to other art-related sites; and more
  • Sunday Afternoon Live from the Chazen: Every Sunday afternoon at 12:30 p.m., from September through mid-May, the Chazen presents live chamber music concerts that are performed in its Brittingham Gallery III, which seats 100 people. Admission is free, and is on a first-come first-served basis. The concert series, which is cosponsored by Wisconsin Public Radio and with the collaboration of UW-Madison School of Music, features Wisconsin artists and is broadcast live throughout the state on public radio stations.