Timeline

History of the Harn

198719881989199019911992199419951996 19971998199920002001
2002200320042005 20062007 20082009201020112012201320142015

 

 

1983 | JANUARY

Founding Gift Given
Dr. and Mrs. David A. Cofrin made a gift of $3 million to partially fund
the construction of an art museum on the University of Florida campus. At the time, the gift was the largest private gift ever given to the University. Then University of Florida President Marshall Criser and Provost Robert A. Bryan gave the project enthusiastic support. With the assistance of State Representative Jon Mills, state matching funds were secured in order to move forward with design and construction.

At a critical time in the project, Dr. E. T. York, a former chancellor of the State University System of Florida and University of Florida Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, led a successful fundraising effort to secure additional resources needed for completion of the state-of-the-art museum building. With contributions from three generations of the Cofrin and Harn families, donations from other individuals, and matching funds from the State of Florida, the $8.7-million project moved forward to completion. The founding donors elected to name the new museum for Mary Ann Harn Cofrin’s father, Samuel P. Harn, a beloved Gainesville businessman and civic leader.

 

1987 | JANUARY

Founding Director Budd Harris Bishop Appointed
Prior to becoming the Director of the Harn, Budd Bishop was the Director of the Hunter Museum of Art in Chattanooga, Tennessee and the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio.
 

1988 | MARCH

Museum Groundbreaking
Community and university leaders gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of the 64,470-square-foot Harn Museum of Art.

 

1989 | SEPTEMBER

Docent Program Established by the Junior League of Gainesville
Trained volunteer tour guides were selected to introduce the museum's exhibitions to visitors. Motivated by a love for art and education, docents continue to be instrumental in providing tours to visitor of all ages. Since 1989, more than 175 volunteers have served as docents.

 

1990 | SEPTEMBER

Harn Museum Opened
On September 22, 1990 the Harn opened with a permanent collection totalling almost 3,000 objects, of which more than 2,000 objects were accessioned from the University Gallery. The Museum’s inaugural exhibitions included loan exhibitions of Old Master European paintings, contemporary Latin American paintings, Florida landscapes by the 19th-century painter Herman Herzog lent by Dr. and Mrs. David A. Cofrin and Alexander Calder’s monumental sculpture Red Dragon lent by Irma and Norman Braman. Installations from the permanent collections featured American art from the 19th and 20th centuries and sculpture from West Africa and Papua New Guinea.

 

Indian, Dancing Ganesha, 13th Century
Black stone, Museum purchase, gift of Michael A. Singer with additional funds provided by the Kathleen M. Axline Acquisition Endowment

1991 | APRIL

First Endowment Established
The Robert H. and Kathleen M. Axline Acquisition Endowment was established for Asian art acquisitions.

 

1991 | JULY

Italian Old Master Drawings from the Collection of Jeffrey E. Horvitz Opened
This exhibition, organized by the Harn and on view from July 12, 1991 - September 8, 1991, was the first to travel to another venue after its exhibition at the Harn.

 

1991 | SEPTEMBER

Internship Program Established
The staff trained 12 graduate and undergraduate students from the University of Florida in the first year of the program providing professional experience and guidance. Interns have worked in areas such as curatorial, finance, fundraising, operations, marketing, landscaping and visitor services. To date, the Harn has provided more than 250 internship experiences.

 

 

1991 | DECEMBER

Caroline Julier and James G. Richardson Acquisition Fund Established
This endowment was established for unrestricted art acquisitions.

 

 

1992 | JANUARY

Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Opened
Joining the Harn Museum to make up what is now known as the UF Cultural Plaza, the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts opened its 1,700-seat theatre with three sold-out performances of CATS.

Eloise R. Chandler Program Endowment Established
This endowment was established for program support.

 

1993 | DECEMBER

Committee on the Collections First Meeting
The Committee on the Collections serves as witness on behalf of the University to the actions and decisions taken by the Harn relating to its art collections. The primary goals of the committee are to guide the Harn’s policies regarding collections and to assist the Museum in executing its mission to build and maintain exemplary collections that will advance teaching and research at the University of Florida.

 

 

1994 | FEBRUARY

Harn Eminent Scholar Chair in Art History (HESCAH) Established
This program enhances collaboration between the Harn Museum and the UF School of Art + Art History. The first Eminent Scholar, Dr. Roy Siebert, a Professor of Fine Arts from Indiana University and a Research Scholar Emeritus from the National Museum of African Art, taught a graduate seminar that resulted in a student-curated exhibition at the Harn.

 

1995 | JANUARY

First Major Harn Collection Book Published
Written by Dr. Robin Poynor, Associate Professor in the UF School of Art + Art History, “African Art at the Harn Museum: Spirit Eyes, Human Hands” was published by the University Press of Florida. An exhibition by the same name was displayed the next year.  

 

1996 | JANUARY

African Art at the Harn Museum: Spirit Eyes, Human Hands Opened
This Harn original exhibition was on view from January 7, 1996 to January 11, 1998. This exhibiton travelled to other venues after its exhibition at the Harn.

 

 

1996 | FEBRUARY

MOSAIC Opened
MOSAIC, now known as the Bishop Study Center, was made possible through funding from the Jesse Ball Dupont Foundation. MOSAIC displayed study exhibitions, scholarly publications and hands-on resources complementing art on view in the Harn's galleries.

Harn Museum Store Space Expanded
Profits from the Museum Store benefit programs and exhibitions at the Harn. Museum store square footage was doubled to provide more space to sell work by local artists, jewelry, books and merchandise related to exhibitions and collections.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1996 | OCTOBER

Michael A. Singer Fund Established
This endowment was established for the support of MOSAIC, now known as the Bishop Study Center.

 

1996 | DECEMBER

S.F.I. Endowment Established
This endowment was established for the support of educational programs.

MOSAIC Renamed the Bishop Study Center
The Bishop Study Center, named in honor of the Harn’s founding Director Budd Bishop and his wife Julia Bishop, continues to serve visitors and enhance the museum experience.

 

 

1997 | JULY

Sidney Knight Endowment Established
This endowment was established for support of exhibitions and programs.

 

 

1997 | SEPTEMBER

Harn Awarded Museum Accreditation
The Harn earned accreditation from the American Association of Museums, the highest national award a museum can receive. This accreditation requires that, to best serve their communities, museums must be committed to institutional improvement and maintenance of the highest standards in collections stewardship, governance, institutional planning and education and interpretation. In 2007, the Museum was successfully reaccredited which takes place every 10 to 15 years.

 

 

1997 | NOVEMBER

Criser Internship Fund Established
This endowment was established to support one internship at the Harn per year by a University of Florida graduate or undergraduate senior. Eligible students can major in any field of academic preparation and can serve any department at the museum.

 

 

Jamini Roy, Three Boatmen, n.d.,
Gift of Dario G. and Renee J. Barozzi
 

1997 | DECEMBER

Harn Program Endowment Established
This endowment was established by multiple donors for the support of exhibitions and programs.

Jamini Roy: Bengali Artist of Modern India Opened
Organized by the Harn, this exhibition was on display from December 14, 1997 – May 17, 1998. A catalogue accompanied the exhibition.

 

 

 

1998 | JANUARY

Melvin and Lorna Rubin Fund Established
This endowment was established for photography acquisitions.

Florida Museum of Natural History Opened
Completing what is known as the University of Florida Cultural Plaza, the 55,000-square-foot education and exhibition center is dedicated to undertaking scientific research, building collections, establishing and maintaining a repository, developing exhibitions and conducting interpretive programs.

 

 

1998 | MARCH

Inner Eye: Contemporary Art from the Marc and Livia Straus Collection Opened
This exhibition was on display from March 22, 1998 – March 1, 1999. A catalogue accompanied the exhibition.

 

 

1998 | DECEMBER

Budd Bishop, Founding Director of the Harn Museum Retired
During his career, he was awarded distinguished service recognitions by three museum professional associations. Bishop now lives with his wife Julia and works as a painter and art consultant in Livingston, Tennessee, and serves on the Tennessee Arts Commission.

 

 

1999 | APRIL

The First Union Foundation Museum Technology Endowment Established
This endowment, which shifted to the Wachovia Foundation Museum Technology Endowment and later the Wells Fargo Museum Technology Endowment, was established to support the use of technology to enhance teaching, research and programs.

 

 

2000 | JANUARY

First Video Exhibition Presented
Persistent Memory: The Architecture of Time in Video Art featured work by William Kentridge, Bill Viola, Stan Douglas, Marina Abramovic and Sylvie Bloucher, and was on display from January 21 – December 17, 2000.

 

Thomas Struth, Paradise 14 Yakushima/Japan, 1999,
Museum purchase, gift of Dr. and
Mrs. David A. Cofrin

2000 | SEPTEMBER

The Swamp: On the Edge of Eden Opened
This exhibition featured works by Martin Johnson Heade, Winslow Homer, Thomas Moran, Sergio Vega and Robert Rauschenberg, and was accompanied by a catalogue. The Swamp: On the Edge of Eden was on display from September 29, 2000 – January 7, 2001.

 

 

2000 | DECEMBER

David A. Cofrin Acquisition Endowment Established
This endowment was established for art acquisitions.

Londono Family Endowment Established
This endowment was established for exhibition and program support.

Dixie Neilson Museum Studies Registration Internship Established
The Neilson Internship is awarded once a year to a graduate student earning a Master of Arts degree or certificate in museum studies. This intern assists the Museum’s Registration department.

 

 

2001 | MAY

First Family Day Held
The Harn encourages families with children to connect with art on view by participating in a family-friendly tour and art activities.

 

 

2002 | JANUARY

Phil and Barbara Emmer Art Acquisition Endowment Established
This endowment was established to support art acquisitions.

First Summer Teacher Institute Held
This workshop, which is now held annually, offers Florida educators the opportunity to investigate visual art, work with regional artists and conceptualize authentic classroom connections to use with their students.

Educator Resource Program Established
This program allows local teachers and university professors to borrow educational materials from the Bishop Study Center for use in the classroom.

 

2002 | JULY

Rebecca M. Nagy Appointed Museum Director
Prior to her appointment Nagy spent 17 years at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, where she concluded her tenure as Associate Director of Education while also serving as Curator of African Art. From 1988 to 2002, she also served as an Adjunct Faculty member at UNC in Chapel Hill.

 

2003 | JANUARY

Groundbreaking for the Mary Ann Harn Cofrin Pavilion Held
This addition was planned to add more contemporary art exhibition space, classrooms and a café. It was funded by a generous gift from David and Mary Ann Cofrin.

Art for Life Program Established
Funded by a grant from the MetLife Foundation this program involves specially trained Docents bringing large posters, hands-on objects, music and photographs into retirement residences and group facilities to engage senior audiences. The goal is to enrich the lives of seniors through arts programming while encouraging the use of art as a catalyst for interactions among senior residence, facilitators and staff.

 

 

2003 | MAY

Dr. Madelyn M. Lockhart Endowment for Focus Exhibitions Established
This endowment was established to support exhibition collaborations between Harn curators and UF faculty.

 

 

2003 | JULY

First Tot Time Held
This program brings children ages 2 - 5 and their guardians together to learn about art. Participants tour Harn galleries, create art and explore age-appropriate concepts. Since 2003, more than 6,125 visitors have participated in Tot Time.

 

2003 | OCTOBER

Santos: Contemporary Devotional Folk Art in Puerto Rico Opened
Santos explored the Puerto Rican folk art tradition of carving Santos
(devotional wood sculptures of saints and holy figures). The exhibition featured 60 Puerto Rican Santos, by 22 contemporary artists, drawn from the local collections of Héctor Puig and Tricia Sample. Santos was on display from October 28, 2003 – February 22, 2004. The exhibition was accompanied by a catalogue.

 

2003 | DECEMBER

City Streets Opened
This exhibition featured documentary photographers capturing life in cities from New York to San Francisco from the 1930s to 50s. This exhibition was on view from December 16, 2003 - February 8, 2004.

 

2004 | JANUARY

150th Anniversary Cultural Plaza Endowment Established
This endowment was established with proceeds from the Party on the Plaza Fundraiser which benefited all members of the UF Cultural Plaza.

 

 

2004 | FEBRUARY

First Museum Nights Held
This program, established through funding by UF Student Government, is designed especially for college students while also engaging the local community. The program continues today and is still supported by Student Government, as well as the Office of the Provost. Other campus groups provide additional funding on certian nights. These campus groups include Engineering, Center for European Studies, Center for African Studies and the Asian American Student Union.

 

2004 | MAY

Ansel Adams: Visualizing the American Landscape Opened
This exhibition was on view from May 18, 2004 - August 22, 2004. Drawn from a private Florida collection, the more than 50 photographs revealed Adams' lasting engagement with nature and his rich contribution to the history of American photography.

 

2004 | MARCH

Jacques Henri Lartigue: A Boy, A Camera, An Era Opened
This original Harn exhibition was on view from March 9, 2004 to July 18, 2004. The exhibition travelled to other venues after its exhibition at the Harn.

 

 

Mfengu people, South African
Young Matron's Dress (detail)
Late 19th - mid 20th century
Museum purchase, funds provided
by the Caroline Julier and James G. Richardson Art Acquisition Fund.

2004 | OCTOBER

National Art Council Established
The purpose of the Harn National Council is to increase the Harn’s visibility nationally and internationally, broaden the base of support from UF Alumni, friends and art collectors, and to advance fundraising goals.

 

2004 | NOVEMBER

Myra L. Engelhardt and Lawrence E. Malvern Endowment Established
This endowment was established to support lectures.

Sense, Style, and Presence: African Arts of Personal Adornment Opened
Drawn from the Museum’s permanent collection of African art, the exhibition explored a range of African objects and modes of personal adornment, in both every day and ritual contexts. This exhibition was on display from November 9, 2004 – May 28, 2006 and was accompanied by a catalogue

 

 

2004 | DECEMBER

Margaret J. Early Program Endowment Established
This endowment was established for unrestricted support at the
Director’s discretion.

First Shands Remote Store Held
For the past 11 years, during the holiday season, the Harn has moved a portion of its store to UF Health Shands Hospital for a one-day sale. Proceeds from the sale benefit UF Center for Arts in Medicine as well as programs and exhibitions at the Harn.

 

2005 | JANUARY

Museum University Student Educators (MUSE) Program Established
The MUSE program offers the opportunity for university students to share their love of art with others. MUSEs are one-semester project volunteers who create and present interactive, engaging experiences for museum visitors.

 

 

2005 | FEBRUARY

Cofrin Curator of Asian Art Endowment Established
This endowment was established to support the work of the Harn's
Curator of Asian Art.

Harn Museum Faculty Council Formed
This committee, comprised of University of Florida faculty members, meets
twice each year, connecting the Museum’s collections and exhibitions with University curriculum.

 

 

2005 | MARCH

Education Advisory Group Formed
This group, comprised of key individuals in the University and community, is made up of members of the school board, staff from the public library, UF and Santa Fe College professors and students, and local art educators and artists. Its members are important ambassadors for the Harn’s education department, providing feedback and ideas for future programming.

 

 

2005 | JULY

Ruth Pruitt Phillips Endowment Established
This endowment was established to support art acquisitions.

 

Jonathan Borofsky, Hammering Man at 2,938,405, 1984, gift of the Martin Z. Margulies Foundation

2005 | OCTOBER

Hammering Man by Jonathan Borofsky Installed
Hammering Man, a gift from Martin Z. Margulies, was installed beside the Harn's front entrance. This work is one of several site specific versions located all over the world from Los Angeles, Seattle, Basel and Frankfurt.

Mary Ann Harn Cofrin Pavilion Opened
The 18,000-square-foot space opened to the public adding 6,500-square-feet of exhibition space, two classrooms and the Camellia Court Café.

 

2005 | DECEMBER

Laura and Kenneth Berns Docent Program Endowment Established
This endowment was established to support educational programs related to the Museum Docent Program.

 

2006 | JANUARY

John Early Publications Endowment Established
This endowment was established to support scholarly publications at the museum.

 

Julia Margaret Cameron
Queen Henrietta Maria and Princess Elizabeth, 1874
Loan from the Robert and
Chitranee Drapkin Collection

2006 | FEBRUARY

Dixie and Peter Neilson Conservation Endowment Established
This endowment was established to support the conservation and
museum collections.

 

2006 | MARCH

The Aura of the Photograph Opened
This exhibition of works ranging from early daguerreotypes of the 1840s to today’s digital and electronic images, is drawn from the Harn Museum of Art and generous loans from eight Florida collections. This selection highlights different characteristics of photographs as collectible objects and surveys the medium’s processes and uses over more than 150 years. This exhibition was on view from March 7, 2006 - May 28, 2006.

 

 

2006 | SEPTEMBER

Spinach Green & Mutton-Fat White:
Chinese Jades of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)
Opened

This exhibition examined seven major categories of Qing-dynasty jades: functional bowls, decorative jades, archaistic jades, representational jades, symbolic jades, jade boulder and Mughal-style jades. Organized by the Harn, the exhibition was on display from September 5, 2006 – January 28, 2007. A catalogue accompanied the exhibition.

 

2006 | NOVEMBER

Harold Walton & Margaret Harn Goforth Endowment Established
This endowment was established to support educational programs.

 

Lulseged Retta, Jazz Night
(Tribute to Gebre Kristos Desta)
1993, collection of the artist

2007 | JANUARY

Gladys Harn Harris Art Acquisition Endowment Established
This endowment was established by David and Mary Ann Cofrin in honor of Mrs. Cofrin’s sister and to support art acquisitions.

Continuity and Change: Three Generations of Ethiopian Artists Opened
On display from January 23 – April 29, 2007, this exhibition told the story of modern and contemporary Ethiopia from the 1940s to the present and explored the role of government support of artists as part of a purposeful strategy for modernization of Ethiopia. Continuity and Change was organized by the Harn and North Carolina Central University Professor Achamyeleh Debela; a catalogue accompanied the exhibition. This exhibition travelled after its exhibition at the Harn.

 

2007 | APRIL

First Earth Day Celebration Held
The Harn and Florida Museum of Natural History continue to offer activities for families with children around Earth Day each April.

 

 

2007 | MAY

Cuba Avant-Garde: Contemporary Cuban Art from the Farber Collection Opened
This exhibition encompassed the full scope of contemporary Cuban art history beginning with the crucial period of the early 1980s, which saw a resurgence in artistic production and political discourse that marked the birth of “New Cuban Art.” The exhibition consisted of 58 artworks created primarily during the 1990s and early 2000s by 40 Cuban-born artists. The exhibition was accompanied by a 188-page bi-lingual (English and Spanish) book.

 

 

 

Oscar Florianus Bluemner
Sketch for Evening Tones, Bronx River, Mt. Vernon, 1911-1917
Lent from the Collection of Carol and Stephen Shey

2008 | FEBRUARY

Gift for the David A. Cofrin Asian Art Wing Given
Dr. and Mrs. David A. Cofrin pledged a gift of $10 million to fund a 26,000-square-foot addition dedicated to the conservation, exhibition and study of Asian art. The gift included two Asian gardens and art storage space.

Paradigms and the Unexpected:
Modern and Contemporary Art from the Shey Collection Opened
This exhibition of 100 paintings, sculpture and drawings by 75 internationally renowned 20th and 21st century artists was drawn from the Florida collection of Carol and Stephen Shey. It was on display from February 10 – May 18, 2008. The exhibition was organized by the Harn and was accompanied by catalogue.

 

 

 

2008 | MAY

David. A Cofrin Asian Art Manuscript Series Established
Founded by Jason Steuber, Cofrin Curator of Asian Art and funded by the AEC Trust in honor of Dr. Cofrin's dedication to Asian art at the Harn.

 

 

2008 | AUGUST

Gallery Guides Program Established
This volunteer program was created to assist in offering information and assistance to Harn visitors.

 

 

2008 | DECEMBER

Rick and Aase Thompson Endowment Established
This endowment was established to support docent programming.

The Fogler Family Endowment Established
This endowment was established to support the acquisition of American Art.

 

2009 | FEBRUARY

"Collectors, Collections and Collecting the Arts of China" Symposium Held
The UF School of Art and Art History and the Harn hosted an international symposium February 20 - 21, 2009 relating to the varied and yet interconnected topics of collecting Chinese art and how the dynamic of collecting and exhibiting Chinese art has unfolded over the past centuries. Funded by the Harn Eminent Scholar Program at the University of Florida’s School of Art and Art History (HESCAH).

 

 

2009 | APRIL

Groundbreaking on David A. Cofrin Asian Art Wing Held
Construction of the 26,000-square-foot addition began on the northwest side of the museum. Plans included three levels featuring 6,000 square feet of Asian art gallery space, an upper level for curatorial and museum activities, art storage and conservation space for the Asian collections and two Asian gardens.

The David A. Cofrin Fund for Asian Art
Dr. Cofrin bequeathed funds to support Asian art acquisitions.

 

 

2009 | JULY

First Summer Camps Held
The Harn holds a series of weekly art camps each summer. Camps include gallery explorations and art-making that connects with Harn collections and exhibitions.

 

 

2009 | AUGUST

“American Selections from the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art” Published
This catalogue features more than 90 works by American artists in the Museum’s modern and contemporary art collections and photography collections.

 

2009 | OCTOBER

45th Annual UF Art Faculty Exhibition Opened
Every five years, the Harn Museum of Art displays work by UF’s School of Art + Art History (SA+AH) Art Studio Faculty working in a wide range of media including painting, ceramics, mixed-media and video display. The exhibition was open from October 6, 2009 – January 3, 2010.

 

2010 | FEBRUARY

Project Europa: Imagining the (Im)Possible Opened
For the 20th anniversary year of the fall of the Berlin Wall, artists in the exhibition questioned the promise and potential of Europe’s democratic dream. The works featured in this exhibition, which included large-scale wall paintings, photography and video by 20 artists from Turkey to the British Isles, explored the complex and subtle relationship between art and politics. The exhibition was open from February 7 – May 9, 2010. The exhibition was accompanied by a catalogue and travelled to another venue after its exhibition at the Harn.

 

2010 | JUNE

America at Work: Art and Propaganda in the Early 20th Century Opened
This exhibition featured about 50 graphic works related to labor issues and demographics, popular culture, immigration trends and national identity during the first half of the 20th century. This exhibition was open from June 8, 2010 - September 5, 2010.

 

2010 | SEPTEMBER

“Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art at Twenty Years:
the Collection Catalogue” Published
The museum's first overall collection catalogue offers 50 highlights from the museum's five major collecting areas--African art, Asian art, contemporary art, modern art, and photography--as well as selections from its ancient American and Oceanic collections. This volume also offers exclusive, behind-the-scenes information about registration, education, development, marketing, public relations and community engagement.

 

Yoruba people, Nigeria, Ancestor Spirit Masquerade Costume (egungun),  20th century, gift of Rod McGalliard

 

2011 | FEBRUARY

Africa Interweave: Textile Diasporas Opened
Featuring more than 40 textiles, garments and other works of art, this exhibition illustrated the aesthetic power and rich cultural histories of textiles produced across the continent of Africa. The exhibition was open from February 8, 2011 - May 8, 2011. This exhibition was accompanied by a catalogue and travelled to another venue after its exhibition at the Harn.

2011 | NOVEMBER

Technology at UF Health Used to Analyze Bodhisattva Sculpture
Documents accompanied the accession of a 17th century Korean Bodhisattva. This discovery prompted the Harn to reach out to Shands Hospital and the North Florida Regional Medical Center in Gainesville to use advanced digital imaging, traditionally employed in medical research, to examine the sculpture more closely. The results of the examination were surprising and revealed that the figure’s hollowed-out abdomen held additional sutra pages...more

 

 

2012 | JANUARY

Poets-in-Residence Established
The Harn Poets-in-Residence compose poetry inspired by art in the museum's
collection, led by poet and UF Professor Emerita Debora Greger. The poets-in-residence are undergraduate interns. Two to three times per year, they create exhibition-related writing activities for visitors to participate in during Museum Nights and
special events.