The University of Kentucky Art Museum in Lexington is accredited by the American Association of Museums and is one of the largest art museums in the state. It opened its doors in November of 1979 with a mission of collecting, preserving, studying, and exhibiting the best of humanitys artistic heritages and of helping the public understand and enjoy the works exhibited. The museum serves a number of diverse and overlapping audiences: university students, faculty and staff members in all disciplines, pupils in area primary and secondary schools, regional artists, and the general public. As an academic support unit of UK, the museum seeks to be a major cultural resource for all the people of the Commonwealth.
The museum maintains a growing permanent collection of nearly 4,000 European and American paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, and decorative arts objects, as well as a range of holdings in art of the Americas, Africa, and Asia. The second-floor galleries display special exhibitions from the permanent collection. Some portions of the exhibits (selected photographs and other works on paper) rotate periodically throughout the year. Other works stay put, but periodically are labeled with comments from members of the campus and community.