As a museum on the campus of a liberal arts college, the Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art fosters a greater understanding of the place of the visual arts in the learning process and in society at large.
The Berman supports the educational mission of Ursinus College across all disciplines, presenting innovative exhibitions and programs that delve into the broader world of ideas. For the campus audience and beyond, the museum aims to create an atmosphere conducive to curiosity and exploration: an accessible, welcoming space that nevertheless challenges viewers to think critically.
Ursinus College, founded in 1869, did not have a formal program or facility for the collection and display of works of art until the creation of the Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art was announced in August 1987. The Berman Museum is housed in the former Alumni Memorial Library, which was built in 1923 to commemorate the brave Ursinus students and alumni who gave their lives in World War I. To accommodate its rapidly growing collection, a new library building was constructed and the Alumni Memorial Library was converted to the College’s Student Union in 1973.
Philip and Muriel Berman worked together throughout their marriage of 55 years—raising a family, managing their businesses, collecting art and working together on philanthropic projects and causes. Together they devoted their energy and fortune to public service and civic affairs in their home city of Allentown, Pennsylvania, in Israel, and throughout the world. The Bermans humanized the process of collecting in the way they lived with their art: paintings and sculptures were an everyday presence throughout their home. They shared their collections with numerous institutions and believed that by exposing students to art they would make clear the importance of art to a fully lived life.