Collections at the University of Delaware
The University of Delaware houses a variety of world-class collections that support research, teaching, and public engagement in material culture. The websites listed below provide details about the contents of individual collections and the hours and guidelines for accessing them. See events for a current calendar of exhibits, receptions, lectures, and symposia that showcase specific items of interest. Most of these are free and open to the public.
The collections of the University Museums are displayed in three separate venues: the University Gallery (prints, drawings, paintings, photographs, sculpture, antiquities, Inuit art); the Paul R. Jones Collection of African-American Art (one of the largest and most important extant; artists include Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, Henry Ossawa Tanner, James VanDerZee, Carrie Mae Weems, and Hale Woodruff.); and the Mineralogical Museum (currently closed for renovation).
This internationally renowned collection includes books, manuscripts, maps, prints, photographs, broadsides, periodicals, pamphlets, ephemera, and realia from the 15th Century to the present. Strengths include English, Irish, and American literature and history; Delaware-related materials; trade catalogues; horticulture; decorative arts and American art; publishing history and the history of the book; and the history of science and technology.
The Mark Samuels Lasner Collection is associated with the Special Collections Department of the University Library but is privately owned. The collection, housed in the Morris Library, focuses on British literature and art of the period 1850 to 1900, with an emphasis on the Pre-Raphaelites and on the writers and illustrators of the 1890s. Its holdings comprise 7,000 first and other editions (including many signed and association copies), manuscripts, letters, works on paper, and ephemera.
Organized in 1971, this collection contains over 3,000 items of clothing men, women, and children as well as textiles from the 18th century. It is useful for teaching, design inspiration, scholarly study, public exhibits, and outreach to schools as well as museums and historical organizations.
Since the 1980s, CHAD researchers have documented more than 3000 historical buildings and landscapes in Delaware and more generally in the mid-Atlantic region. The documentation is now the only record of three-quarters of these sites, which have been lost to neglect or demolition. The collection includes hundreds of hand-drawn and computer-generated measured architectural drawings and thousands of photographs as well as maps, property files, in-house publications, and architectural and building material fragments.