Newberry Hall was built in 1890-91 as headquarters for the Students’ Christian Association. Half of the building’s cost came from a gift of Helen H. Newberry. In recognition of this support it was named Newberry Hall in honor of her husband John S. Newberry '47.
The building contained rooms for general social headquarters for the Students’ Christian Association as well as offices and committee rooms and an auditorium on the second floor.
It was built of native fieldstone, in the prevailing Romanesque style of the period, developed under the influence of the architect, H. H. Richardson, of Boston.
In 1904-05 the organization was reorganized and Newberry Hall became the center of the Young Women’s Christian Association, under the general direction of the board of the Students’ Christian Association, which continued to hold the title to Newberry Hall.
Newberry Hall gradually decreased in usefulness, and in 1921 the Students' Christian Association offered it to the University for classes on condition that expenses for repairs and cost of heating be borne by the University. The building was rented and used for history, English and philosophy classes. Lane Hall had become the center of most of the Student Christian Association activities.
In 1928 the University leased Newberry Hall from the Students' Christian Association and adapted it for use as a museum under the Department of Classical Studies.
In a subsequent reorganization, following the establishment of a Student Religious Association in 1937, the Board of Directors of the old Students' Christian Association transferred the property to the University.