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Spencer Museum of Art

Housing the University of Kansas’ art and anthropology collection, this museum includes pieces from Europe, Asia and North American Indian tribes.

The Spencer Museum of Art started like many art museums do, with the donation of a private collection. Sallie Thayer generously donated her prized art collection to the University of Kansas in 1917. The collection has since been added to and expanded. The current collection includes the original group of works as well as more recent acquisitions and the entire collection of ethnographic objects from the university’s anthropology department.

The museum is small and is only able to show up to 5 percent of its collection at any one time. Examine the permanent exhibitions that include detailed Pueblo pottery from North American tribes, Inuit clothing and artifacts from the turn of the 20th century. There is also a large African collection.

See intricate carvings and prints from places such as Turkey and India in the Asian Art section. Wooden block prints from Japan are another highlight in this section of the museum along with the colorful Chinese ink paintings.

Don't miss the European and American art. Pieces include textiles, prints, illustrations and sculptures. This collection also includes an impressive amount of works on paper, often shown in temporary exhibitions. A good chance to see them is every Friday when the print room is open to the public.

Beyond the permanent collection, the museum also hosts traveling exhibitions. Previous ones have included contemporary art from China and Japan, Renaissance collections from Italy and installation art from around the world. The museum is located outside the Kansas City center, so check the museum’s website to find out what is showing before you make the trip.

The Spencer Museum of Art is located in Lawrence, Kansas, about a 45-minute drive west of Kansas City. It’s situated on the University of Kansas campus where there is plenty of parking available. The museum is closed on Mondays. Entry is free.


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Best Lodging Options Near Spencer Museum of Art

See all 215 Properties near Spencer Museum of Art
The Oread $134
The Oread

The Oread

1200 Oread Ave, Lawrence, KS
     
    3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Oread, this hotel is 0.2 mi (0.4 km) from University of Kansas Natural History Museum and 1.3 mi (2.2 km) from University of Kansas. University of Kansas Memorial Stadium and Spencer Museum of Art are also within 10 minutes. Lawrence Station is 24 minutes by foot.

    Baymont by Wyndham Lawrence $59
    Baymont by Wyndham Lawrence

    Baymont by Wyndham Lawrence

    740 Iowa St, Lawrence, KS
       
      2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Hillcrest, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Old West Lawrence and University of Kansas. University of Kansas Memorial Stadium and Lied Center of Kansas are also within 2 mi (3 km).

      Super 8 by Wyndham Lawrence KU $51
      Super 8 by Wyndham Lawrence KU

      Super 8 by Wyndham Lawrence KU

      801 Iowa St, Lawrence, KS
         
        2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Hillcrest, this motel is within 1 mi (2 km) of University of Kansas Memorial Stadium and University of Kansas. Old West Lawrence and Lied Center of Kansas are also within 2 mi (3 km).

        The Eldridge Hotel $134
        The Eldridge Hotel

        The Eldridge Hotel

        701 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS
           
          3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Situated in Lawrence, this hotel is 0.2 mi (0.3 km) from Lawrence Outdoor Aquatic Center and 2.2 mi (3.6 km) from University of Kansas. Lawrence Arts Center and Old West Lawrence are also within 10 minutes. Lawrence Station is 7 minutes by foot.

          DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Lawrence $88
          DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Lawrence

          DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Lawrence

          200 Mcdonald Dr, Lawrence, KS
             
            3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Situated in Lawrence, this hotel is 1.4 mi (2.3 km) from Old West Lawrence and 1.9 mi (3 km) from University of Kansas. Lawrence Outdoor Aquatic Center and University of Kansas Memorial Stadium are also within 3 mi (5 km).

            Hampton Inn Lawrence $101
            Hampton Inn Lawrence

            Hampton Inn Lawrence

            2300 W 6th St, Lawrence, KS
               
              2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Deerfield, this hotel is 1.1 mi (1.8 km) from Old West Lawrence and 1.6 mi (2.6 km) from University of Kansas. Lawrence Outdoor Aquatic Center and Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics are also within 2 mi (3 km).

              Days Inn by Wyndham KU Lawrence $47
              Days Inn by Wyndham KU Lawrence

              Days Inn by Wyndham KU Lawrence

              730 S Iowa Street, Lawrence, KS
                 
                2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Hillcrest, this motel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Old West Lawrence and University of Kansas. University of Kansas Memorial Stadium and Lied Center of Kansas are also within 2 mi (3 km).

                Virginia Inn $59
                Virginia Inn

                Virginia Inn

                2903 W 6th St, Lawrence, KS
                   
                  2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Deerfield, this motel is 1.5 mi (2.4 km) from Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics and 1.7 mi (2.8 km) from University of Kansas. Old West Lawrence and Lied Center of Kansas are also within 2 mi (3 km).