History of the Collection

Philip and Muriel Berman discovered a passion for sculpture, commissioning outdoor works by artists such as Henry Moore, Lynn Chadwick, Alexander Calder, and Tom Sternal for installation on the grounds of their Allentown home. As their enthusiasm for collecting grew, they became known as some of the most generous donors of outdoor sculpture in the country, gifting works to museums, sculpture gardens, and colleges and universities across the Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley region.

The Bermans valued art immensely in their everyday lives and wanted to share that love of art with a wider community. The couple made their first gift of outdoor sculpture to Ursinus College in 1980 with Glen Zweygardt’s  Bearkeeperand  Upheaval II. Over time, they donated over 90 percent of the Berman Museum’s current outdoor collection. As a result, the collection is a unique record of a specific time and place in the trajectory of art history, as well as the Bermans’ own collecting interests and motivations.

Since the Berman’s first gift of outdoor sculpture in 1980, other generous benefactors have included George and Ellen Anthonisen, Joe Mooney, the Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation, the family of G. Noble Wagner, and others. 

These gifts have incentivized Ursinus College to continue to add to the public art on campus—recent acquisitions such as the site and time specific  Live the Questions, by muralist Katie Merz, reflect our community’s investment in a shared sense of ownership, responsibility, and care. 

The outdoor sculptures are a unique and vital part of campus life and help provide a welcoming atmosphere for members of the community walking through campus.

Mary Ann Unger, Temple, 1986. Aluminum. Mary Ann Unger, Temple, 1986. Aluminum.