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Located in the lower level of the Festival Conference and Student Center in room 1108, the James and Gladys Kemp Lisanby Museum presents dynamic, high-quality exhibitions featuring works of art from the Madison Art Collection. Serving both the university population as well as that of the surrounding community, the Lisanby is dedicated to celebrating diversity, scholarship, and the pursuit of knowledge.


The Lisanby Museum will reopen on January 21st, 2019.

Hours: Monday - Friday, 10 am - 4 pm

The Lisanby Museum will be closed on the following dates:

  • February 5, March 4-8, April 22-May 4
Spring 2019

This spring, the Lisanby Museum at James Madison University hosts Rocket Age: The American Spirit in Art, 1950 – 1980 from January 21 – April 19, 2019. Featuring works from the Madison Art Collection, JMU’s permanent art collection, this exhibition continues the university’s involvement in American Evolution 2019, a statewide initiative commemorating the four-hundredth anniversary of events in Virginia which continue to define America. A celebration of the diversity and cultural impact of American artists, Rocket Age examines how postwar events impacted modern art, and how artists used their creativity to help shape modern American culture.

For hundreds of years following the arrival of the first Europeans, American art was heavily influenced by European artistic styles and trends. This changed following the global upheaval caused by World War I (1914-18) and World War II (1939-45), when political change ushered in a new era of American art. As America became a world power, the migration of significant European artists transformed New York City into the world’s artistic capital. American artists were no longer simply responding to artistic trends of Europe; they were actively shaping the development of modern art. This exhibition features works from 1950 to the end of the 1980s, exploring not only the works of important American artists, but also how these artists responded to and helped shape the common culture of our nation during decades of immense change.

The exhibition is organized into four sections corresponding to different decades. Each section explores socio-political changes as well as artistic movements of the decade, while featuring works that exemplify the zeitgeist. In keeping with the Madison Art Collection’s mission to foster an informed appreciation of the rich diversity of the human experience, visitors will encounter drawings, prints, photographs, sculptures, and ceramics. Works within the exhibition include those by familiar names such as Andy Warhol, Elliott Erwitt, and Robert Rauschenberg, as well as fascinating works by Dorothy Gillespie and Toshiko Takaezu, among others.


January 24: Opening Reception and Curator’s Tour, 3-5 pm.

February 21: Coffee and Conversation, 2-3 pm.

March 21: Coffee and Conversation, 2-3 pm.

April: 18: Coffee and Conversation, 2-3 pm.

Purity and Power: The Art of Russian Icons

Fall 2019 (September 10 – November 30, 2019)

To the followers of the Eastern Orthodox Church, images of holy people or events, called icons, are considered to be a window or portal into the heavenly realm. This exhibition will highlight the finest icons in the Madison Art Collection, presenting never-before-seen works of art along with a scholarly catalogue that will explore the history, materials, and meaning of Russian icons as well as the culture and history of Russia itself.

Savoring the Moon: Japanese Prints of the Floating World

Spring of 2020 (January 21 – April 19, 2020)

This exhibition will present Japanese woodblock prints from the Edo period (1615-1868), a time when the cessation of civil warfare and governmental stability ushered in a new period of artistic appreciation and patronage. In what is known as the “Floating World” was not a physical place, but rather a mindset of enjoying life’s fleeting pleasures. While the pleasures may have been fleeting, happily the prints which chronicled this lifestyle survive to be enjoyed by viewers today.

Study Center

Featuring objects from the ancient world to the present day. Faculty may request specific objects to be considered for inclusion during the upcoming academic year by contacting Dr. Wren River Stevens ( or 540-568-5577) before July 30th.


Non-JMU Visitor Metered Parking is now available across the street from Festival in Lot C12 behind the bus stop.

Group Visits

Contact Ms. Ginny Soenksen ( or 540-568-2661) to schedule a group visit for 30 people or less.  Please indicate if you wish a guided tour.

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