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Utah Museum of Fine Arts

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Welcome to the UMFA

The UMFA is Utah's premier visual art museum, and serves as a bridge from campus to the broader community. The permanent collection features some 18,000 works from antiquity to contemporary art. Special exhibitions make each visit a new experience, and a variety of public programs are scheduled year-round to encourage dialogue and discovery.

umfa mission statement

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts engages visitors in discovering meaningful connections with the artistic expressions of the world's cultures.

We fulfill our mission by:

  • Acting as responsible stewards of the material legacy of the visual arts for the people of Utah.
  • Serving as a teaching, learning and research resource for the University of Utah, the greater educational community, and the general public.
  • Promoting an open dialogue with visitors and the community about the role of the visual arts in our society.
  • Fostering and celebrating the diverse artistic expressions and accomplishments of the people of Utah and around the world.
  • Cultivating community partnerships and collaborations to ensure that the visual arts will reach a broad public.
  • Offering a wide range of experiences that enable visitors to explore the variety of ways the arts can inform and enhance human experience.

umfa core values

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts:

  • Upholds the highest level of stewardship, accepted museum practices and professional standards.
  • Strives for excellence in serving the university and the diverse communities of Utah.
  • Fosters mutual respect, trust, and collegiality with our colleagues and our community.
  • Supports the advancement of the academic mission of the university.
  • Exercises fiscal prudence and ethical responsibility for the Museum's resources for future generations.
  • The Museum is accredited by The American Association of Museums.

history of the museum

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts is Utah's primary cultural resource for global visual arts. It is unique in its dual role as a university and state art museum. It is Utah's only visual arts institution that collects, exhibits, interprets, and preserves a comprehensive collection of over 5,000 years of art from around the world.

The creation of a formal art gallery on the top floor of the Park Building in the early 1900s marks the physical birth of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. In the beginning, paintings by local artists filled this one-room gallery. Over the next five decades, the art department at the University of Utah received major art gifts and specific requests from donors to remodel the gallery into a museum. After the renovation of the gallery was finished, the University's president, A. Ray Olpin, established it as the Utah Museum of Fine Arts on May 6, 1951. In 1967, Frank Sanguinetti was hired as the first professional director. By this time, the Museum had entered a new period of growth, which resulted in the building of a new museum.

After the Museum's relocation in 1970, its goal was to focus on the continuation of expanding its collections. Events were held to gain support from the community and the Annual Friends of the Art Museum Acquisition Fund was formed. Over the years this Annual Fund has been helpful with the expansion of the Museum's collections and its ability to offer art and history education. Thanks to the generous patrons, local and national foundations, the University community, and the citizens of the State of Utah, the UMFA's collection now encompasses 5,000 years of artistic creativity. Since the mid-1900s, when the collection was around 800 objects, it has grown to over 17,000 art objects. This huge expansion required the building of yet another museum, and with the help of many generous donors the construction of a new 74,000 square-foot building was started in 1998. The UMFA opened in the Marcia and John Price Museum Building in June 2001, and the preceding year David L. Dee was named Executive Director. Dee resigned in 2009 and was named Director Emeritus. Gretchen Dietrich, former Director of Public Programs and Curatorial Affairs, was named Executive Director of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts in July 2010.

Since the second relocation, the UMFA has experienced unprecedented growth in all areas of operation. In February 2005, the Utah State Legislature declared the UMFA as an official state institution, confirming the importance of the Museum's role as a center for art, culture, and education in the state of Utah. As Utah's flagship art museum, the UMFA collects, exhibits, interprets, and preserves a comprehensive collection of more than 19,000 original art objects from around the world. Today the UMFA strives to give everyone the opportunity to experience different ideas, values, and cultures from its extensive art collections.

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Details and Specs

Hours of Operation:
Tue10:00 AM5:00 PM
Wed10:00 AM8:00 PM
Thr10:00 AM5:00 PM
Fri10:00 AM5:00 PM
Sat11:00 AM5:00 PM
Sun11:00 AM5:00 PM
Notes: Closed Mondays and holidays UMFA will be closed August 5 for humidity testing on the building.


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