The permanent collection is both diverse in representation of art historical periods and styles and concentrated in selected areas to reinforce curricular and regional historical priorities.
Focused collections include American 19th and 20th century paintings, prints, and sculpture, which are utilized to illustrate historical trends in art, literature, science and political and social history. The Japanese woodcut, scrolls, and artifact collection, which links Ursinus’ exchange program with Tohoko Gakuin University, also support the extensive Japanese language, teaching and culture courses taught. A strong works on paper collection, numbering over 1,500 pieces, features works by Durer, Rembrandt, and Cezanne; early 20th century New York and Philadelphia School artists such as John Sloane, Henri Luks, and Joseph Pennell; a lively group of Op and Pop Art compositions; and large holdings of the paintings and prints of Francoise Gilot. A significant collection of Pennsylvania German art and artifacts (fraktur, quilts, furniture, pottery, and utilitarian objects) is utilized extensively for research by campus and external scholars, exhibition, and classroom instruction.
Contemporary sculpture, an area of collecting the Bermans were passionate about, is well represented in the collection, with a large selection of maquettes by Buki Schwartz, Igael Tumarkin, Menashe Kadishman, Lynn Chadwick, George R. Anthonisen and others commissioned by Muriel and Philip Berman. The museum holds the largest private collection of maquettes and large-scale sculpture by Lynn Chadwick, dating from 1957-1987. The grounds of Ursinus College hold a significant collection of 20th century sculpture, numbering over 80 objects. The outdoor sculpture collection is available for viewing from sunrise to sunset.