Who We Are

The RISD Museum was founded on the belief that art, artists, and the institutions that support them play pivotal roles in promoting broad civic engagement and creating more open societies.

Established in 1877 as part of a vibrant creative community, the RISD Museum stewards works of art representing diverse cultures from ancient times to the present. We interpret our collection with the focus on the maker and we deeply engage with art and artists, presenting ideas and perspectives that can be inspiring and complex. We aspire to create an accessible and inclusive environment that builds meaningful relationships across all communities.

Contact us

You belong here. We aspire to create an accessible and inclusive place for all. Share your experience with us at museum@risd.edu. See our staff directory for additional ways to get in touch.

Our Collection

Our collection currently contains more than 100,000 works of art and design dating from ancient times to today including paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, costume and textiles, and furniture from all over the world. Of these objects, 3,121 of them are on view in the Museum now, 81,643 of them are available online, and there are 4,030 recent acquisitions.

The RISD Museum provides free access to digital images of public domain materials in the collection for any purpose. We want our collection, scholarship, and interpretive content to be accessed, distributed, and reused by everyone.

Our Leadership

The Museum Board of Governors and Fine Arts Committee provides oversight of the RISD Museum on behalf of RISD’s Board of Trustees and assists and supports the Museum in fulfilling its mission to acquire, preserve, exhibit, and interpret works of art and design representing diverse cultures from ancient times to the present.

Our Partnerships

Working collaboratively and responsively, the RISD Museum seeks to cultivate a culture of creative learning with local communities.

Member Institutions 

Students, faculty, and staff from our academic partners receive free admission.

Learn more

Multidisciplinary Initiatives

Collaboration offers multiple perspectives, cross-cultural dialogues, and opportunities for free expression. Examples of ongoing and former partners include FirstWorks, Rhode Island Film Festival, Langston Hughes Community Poetry Reading, the Providence Art and Design Film Festival, Stages of Freedom, Community Music Works, Gallery Night ProvidenceProvidence Athenaeum, the Center for Reconciliation, and Providence Children’s Film Festival.

Pedagogy & Practice 

Using a variety of approaches we support topics and issues including multicultural practice, archeology, language learning, and more. Current and past partners include Trinity Repertory TheatreRI PhilharmonicHaffenreffer Museum of Anthropology & Joukowsky Institute of Archaeology and the Ancient World, the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown UniversityLeviton Dual Language School, Sheridan Center, New Urban Arts, !Providence CITYARTS!, Project Open Door, AS220, and VSA Arts.

Museum without Walls

Working beyond the Museum’s walls supports an open dialogue and build meaningful relationships with varied audiences and communities. Our off-site initiatives include  Community Preparatory School, Leviton Dual Language School, Providence Community Libraries, Providence Public Libraries, CrossRoads Rhode Island, Brown Refugee Youth Tutoring and Enrichment, Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island, and the Partnership for Providence Parks.