What's Inside The Block?: Block Museum - Northwestern University
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Janet in If You Remember

What's Inside The Block?

It depends on how you look...


The Block is a dynamic, imaginative, and innovative resource for teaching, learning, and research at Northwestern and its surrounding communities, featuring a global exhibition program that crosses time periods and cultures and serves as a springboard for thought-provoking discussions relevant to our lives today.

The museum also commissions new work to foster connections between artists and the public through the creative process. Each year, the Block mounts exhibitions; organizes and hosts lectures, symposia, and workshops involving artists, scholars, curators, and critics; and screens classic and contemporary films at its in-house cinema. The museum reaches national and international audiences through its traveling exhibitions, publications, and digital programs. Its growing permanent collection of approximately 6,000 works focuses primarily on prints, photography, and drawings. 

students in gallery

Mission Statement

The Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art enriches teaching, learning, and research on the campuses of Northwestern University and in the communities of their surrounding regions by: 

students hanging in gallery

Vision Statement


About our Work

The collections, exhibitions, and programs of The Block Museum of Art present a broad view of human experience and global perspectives. The Museum’s activities support the strategic goals, priorities, and values of Northwestern University. We uphold the University’s strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We also endeavor to work towards constructive engagement within the context of freedom of academic inquiry and expression through our presentation of art, artists, and visual culture.


AAM Accreditation 

AA American Association of Museums (AAM) accreditation logo

The Block Museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums (AAM). Accreditation recognizes high standards and ensures that museums uphold their public trust. Developed and sustained by museum professionals for more than 35 years, AAM’s museum accreditation program is the field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation, and public accountability.



Diversity, Equity, and Access and Inclusion Statement

We aspire to be an institution in which the values of diversity, equity, access, and inclusion (DEAI) are fully present in the who, what, where, when, why, and how of our work. [Read our full statement]

The Block Museum of Art upholds Northwestern University’s institutional mission“to realize an ideal Northwestern University where community members are challenged to engage differences as strengths in an environment that ensures equality of access, opportunity, representation and participation.”

Learn more about Northwestern University’s Leadership Commitment to Institutional Diversity and Inclusion





Consortium of Chicagoland Academic Museums and Galleries

The Block Museum of Art proudly recognizes its peers in the Consortium of Chicagoland Academic Museums and Galleries:

DePaul Art Museum, DePaul University; Gallery 400, University of Illinois at Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College; SAIC Galleries, School of the Art institute of Chicago; Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago

College and University Art Museums Reciprocal Program (CUAMRP)

cuamrp-icon.pngThe Block is a member of the College and University Art Museums Reciprocal Program, through which academic museums have opened their doors to the members of other teaching museums. Visitors have the opportunity to see how other schools use their collections for teaching and enjoyment.

Download List of Participating Museums