With a collecting history that extends back to the 1750s, the Museum is one of the oldest collecting institutions in America, and the one of few university art museums of truly universal scope. Its collections, which number more than 92,000 works in all media, range from ancient to contemporary and span the globe.
Bequests by alumni over the course of more than two centuries has created a collection of extraordinary depth and breadth. In the 1930s alone, in addition to significant gifts of Chinese and Japanese art, several thousand objects, including significant holdings of prints and drawings, were bequeathed to the Museum by a member of the Class of 1888; more than 40 Italian paintings were given by a 1910 graduate, from his family’s villa in Fiesole; and a collection of more than 500 snuff bottles — still regarded as one of the finest early collections of the sort -- was willed by a 1903 graduate.
The outdoor sculpture collection includes works by Alexander Calder, Henry Moore, Louise Nevelson, Isamu Noguchi, David Smith, and Tony Smith.
Read our article about how the PUAM collection -- described in 1922 as “the oddest kingdom of shreds and patches imaginable” -- became one of the nation’s foremost art museums.
Whether or not you go, Princeton University Art Museum Handbook of the Collections is a revised and expanded edition of the museum guide, featuring more than 450 of the Museum's most important works.
20 pictures of "place" explore brushwork, form, and more
75 examples of powerful graphic imagery from ancient North America
50 paintings offer insight into the artist’s family life