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student looks at print

The Block Museum houses a collection of over 6,000 artworks. With a foundation in works on paper, including prints, drawings, and photographs. In recent years The Block has expanded its collection with acquisitions of contemporary art across media by an international array of artists. Recent gifts and purchases have included videos, sculpture, drawings, photographs, and installations by artists such as Paul Chan, Omar Victor Diop, Felix Gonzalez Torres, Catherine Opie, and Carrie Mae Weems. Building upon these strengths the Block continues to seek gifts of art that connect to Northwestern’s broad curriculum and deepen our representation of modern and contemporary culture globally and from diverse perspectives.

Specialized Collections Within The Block’s Holdings

  • WPA (Works Progress Administration) prints and Chicago-based artists of the 1930s and 40s
  • Computer-generated artworks from the 1950s to the present day
  • Marion Mahony Griffin and Walter Burley Griffin architectural drawings and blueprints
  • Prints and drawings by 19th and 20th century American and European sculptors
  • Documentary photography highlighting the Midwest from the 1930s through the 1970s
  • American prints from the 1970s through the 1990s

Resource for Campus and Community

The Block Museum’s collection provides an innovative and active teaching and learning resource for the University and its surrounding communities.  Educators in fields as varied as performance studies, journalism, and material science visit our collection and access our online database to teach visual literacy, develop critical thinking skills, and draw thematic connections. Our Eloise W. Martin Study Center is a special classroom inside the Block that offers an intimate setting for the study and use of artwork in the museum’s collection.

Online Access to The Block Collection

Full digital access to the collection is currently under construction as we transfer our records to a new database. We apologize for the inconvenience. To see works in the collection, visit  The Block Museum’s Eloise W. Martin Study Center. 

Collection Spotlight

The Block Collection Spotlight invites a closer look at objects in the Block Museum permanent collection from students, staff, faculty, and museum audiences