Alumni Memorial Hall
Alumni Memorial Hall was built by the Alumni to honor those members of the University who had served in the wars of their country. The building was dedicated on May 11, 1910 , and officially presented to the University. The building was home to the Alumni Association, the Michigan Alumnus and the Alumni Catalog Office. The building was also to house the University’s art collection. A large room in the basement was used for the University Club, a faculty organization that later moved to quarters in the Michigan Union.
Alumni Memorial Hall was an impressive stone building marked by a flight of steps leading up to four great classical pillars at the front. Great bronze doors opened directly into the main lobby and statuary hall. There were also two side entrances.
Alumni Memorial Hall
Alumni Memorial Hall Portico
Four rooms were named for the four largest donors, as follows: the large main gallery for Ezra Rust, the south upper gallery for Dexter M. Ferry, the north upper gallery for Simon T. Murphy, and the lower north front room for Arthur Hill. The south front room was called the Alumni Room.
The building’s chief usefulness to the University has been as a center of art activities. It was opened officially with an art exhibit, sponsored by Charles L. Freer, which included many items from his famous collection of American and Asian art, now in the Freer Gallery in Washington D.C. From the time of its organization until 1949 the Department of Fine Arts held classes in this building.
The Ann Arbor Art Association held annual exhibits in Alumni Memorial Hall for many years and scheduled several exhibits each year.
Alumni Memorial Hall was opened with an exhibit of
Charles Freer’s American and Asian Art Collection
The Museum of Art was given quarters in the building in 1946, when it was separated from the Museum of Archaeology.
“A University museum of art, is primarily a device for the furtherance of teaching. Its function is to conserve and display the various art works belonging to the institution, and to supplement them with showings of other material pertinent to the work pursued in the courses dealing with the theory, practice and history of the visual arts.” Jean Paul Slusser '09, A.M.' 11 (Michigan Alumnus, 1945-46 p. 497)