Nickle Arts Museum
Situated on the University of Calgary's campus, the
Nickle Arts Museum has become a great asset to Calgary's academic
community and the general public.
The museum is named after its key contributing founder,
oil explorer and entrepreneur Dr. Samuel C. Nickle. His life was richly
animated by Calgary's booming oil industry, and as a gesture of giving
back to the community, in 1972, he donated $1 million towards the
construction of an art museum.
Dr. Nickle hoped his contribution would educationally
and generally enrich the lives of students and the larger community. In
essence, he wanted his legacy to provide a gain for all who interacted
His ample donation came with one condition, that the
Alberta government would match it. Possibilities were not realized until
the government provided the remaining $1 million in 1978. That same year,
construction began and the building was completed the year after.
The Nickle Museum is highly regarded and is considered
to be among the leading, if not the foremost, university museums in
Canada. It maintains strong connections with museums around the world and
has undoubtedly benefited from its historic ties with the University of
Calgary's art, Greek, Latin, ancient history, and archaeology departments.
With time, the Nickle Museum has become an integral
partner for a wide array of disciplines on Calgary's university campus.
Over 300 courses a year make use of the gallery in some capacity, with the
array of interacting disciplines including computer science and
engineering. This interface is purposefully diverse, making art a relevant
addition to all learning.
Richard Graybourne, director of the Nickle Arts
Museum, speaks about it.Listen Now
The Nickle Museum staff focuses their attention on the
role of educatorat the local, national and international level. The
museum's purpose is to exhibit and study any information considered to be
aesthetically and historically significant. With this goal in mind,
provocative and riveting exhibits are not excluded if they provide an
opportunity for learning.
Access to learning from the Nickle Museum is not
exclusive to university students and staff. About 30 percent of its
audience comes from off campus. With its goals for expansion, and its
participation in the International Commons being developed to facilitate
open and interdisciplinary learning, the Nickle Museum continues to
challenge itself to facilitate an understanding of art for everyone, not
A particularly specialized area of the Nickle Museum is
its numismatic collection. That is, the collection of currencies, such as
coins, from different periods and locations. This area of the museum
originated from Dr. Nickle's request that numismatics be included in the Museum's collection. Other notable aspects of the collection include the
recent and major acquisition of Oriental rugs, making the Nickle Art
Museum's holding the largest of its type in Canada.