History and Mission



The DeVos Art Museum opened in February of 2005 after the completion of the new museum building, designed by HGA Architects. The museum is part of the School of Art and Design at Northern Michigan University (NMU) and also serves as a regional art museum for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The museum has been endowed by a grant from the DeVos Foundation of Grand Rapids.

The DeVos Art Museum grew directly out of Lee Hall Gallery, which was established in 1975 to serve the Art & Design Department at NMU as a departmental gallery showcasing student and faculty work. The role of the gallery eventually grew to include rotating exhibitions of national artists and established a permanent art collection of over 1,000 objects. A docent program was developed and an outdoor sculpture walk was created. By 1995, Lee Hall Gallery gained art museum status and became known as the University Art Museum.

Now The DeVos Art Museum is expanding its role at the University and in the community. With the generous endowment and state of the art gallery spaces, the museum is focusing on exhibiting regional, national and international contemporary art. The mission of The DeVos Art Museum is to provide the University and local communities the opportunity to experience original works of art and to foster educational opportunities for all audiences through exhibitions, programs and publications. Through the vast academic resources at Northern Michigan University, the museum aims to become an artistic learning laboratory for NMU, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the Upper Midwest region.

The Friends of DeVos Art Museum is a membership organization that hosts fundraisers and special events, organizes the docent education program and seeks new acquisitions for the permanent collection.

Melissa Matuscak is the Director and Curator of the Museum.