About the Museum
Founded in 1931, the Nevada Museum of Art (the Museum) is the only art museum in Nevada accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM).
Co-founded in 1931 by Dr. James Church, an early climate scientist, humanist, and lover of art, the Museum in its early days was run by a small group of outdoor landscape painters. As a result, the Museum has long understood the importance of examining how humans interact with their natural, built, and virtual surroundings. Designed by internationally renowned architect Will Bruder, the present Museum facility opened in 2003 at the heart of Reno’s downtown Liberty district. The four-level, 70,000-square-foot building is inspired by geological formations in northern Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, and serves as a visual metaphor for the institution’s scholarly focus on art and environment.
The institution’s identity continues to be shaped by the geographic location and environment. The Museum’s proximity to the San Francisco Bay Area, the Sierra Nevada, Lake Tahoe, and the surrounding Great Basin desert region places it at the nexus of both awe-inspiring scenery and a rapidly changing landscape. It is an ideal place for dynamic conversations about the ways that humans creatively interact with environments. This idea is reflected in the Museum’s permanent collection, which is divided into four thematic focus areas: the Robert S. and Dorothy J. Keyser Art of the Greater West Collection, the Carol Franc Buck Altered Landscape Photography Collection, the Contemporary Art Collection, and the E. L. Wiegand Work Ethic in American Art Collection.
We are a museum of ideas. While building upon our founding collections and values, we strive to offer meaningful art and cultural experiences, and foster new knowledge in the visual arts by encouraging interdisciplinary investigation. The Nevada Museum of Art serves as an educational resource for everyone.
The Nevada Museum of Art is the only accredited art museum in the state of Nevada. Recognized for following best practices as outlined by the American Alliance of Museums, the Museum is committed to continuous institutional improvement and change. With accreditation, the Museum joins the ranks of other significant institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Just 5% of all museums in the US earn AAM accreditation.
The Nevada Museum of Art is located in the Great Basin on the occupied territories of Indigenous people. The state of Nevada consists of 28 federally recognized tribes from four nations: the Numu (Northern Paiute), Newe (Western Shoshone), Wa She Shu (Washoe), and Nuwu (Southern Paiute). We acknowledge that more can be done to further research and integrate the stories of Indigenous people and cultures into our collective knowledge of the lands of this place.