AUBURN – The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University opened its doors to the public on Oct. 3, 2007. This year marks its seventh anniversary, and to celebrate, the museum will host a birthday party on Sunday, Oct. 3, from 1- 4 p.m. with a theme of “Making dreams come true – the magic world of your imagination.”
Children’s activities will draw from two ongoing exhibitions, “As Above, So Below” and “Old Master Drawings.” Projects will include making art based on imagination, story narratives, dreams, fairy tales and animals, along with exploring phrases and text as a part of visual art. Activity stations will offer age-appropriate activities that are both fun and educational.
Children attending the museum’s birthday party are encouraged to dress up as their favorite fairy tale or story book character or animals. Prizes will be awarded for creativity and costume design. Visitors will enjoy slices of birthday cake or Gigi’s cupcakes and visits from Aubie and Miss Auburn.
For more information on the Jule Collins Smith birthday celebration, go to http://jcsm.auburn.edu/index.php or call (334) 844-1484. To learn more about the history of the museum and the people whose vision and generosity made it a reality, go to http://jcsm.auburn.edu/the_museum/history.php.
Some highlights of the museum’s history include how Frank Applebee, chair of the School of Art and Architecture, arranged in 1948 for the purchase of 36 paintings for $1,072 from a government auction. These paintings formed the core of what was hoped at the time to be a museum collection and are now displayed as the Advancing American Art exhibition.
Forty-four years later, in 1992, the art museum project was given new life when philanthropist Susan Phillips of Brewton donated a large collection of John James Audubon prints.
In 1998, Houston businessman Albert Smith, a 1947 mechanical engineering graduate, committed $3 million toward the construction of the museum building in honor of his wife, Jule. The museum is the namesake of Jule Collins Smith. That same year, the Auburn University Board of Trustees determined the site of the museum to be the intersection of College Street and Woodfield Drive.