Hampton University Museum


Masks are required for all on- and off-campus visitors.


On-Campus: Hampton University Students, Staff/Faculty


Individual HU Students, staff and faculty must show their HU ID card upon arrival at the Museum. In addition, we will perform a brief temperature check and ask you to sign in at the podium.



Class Visits should be called in and scheduled with Deanna Brooks.  You may reach Ms. Brooks at or 757.727.5308. This prevents us from scheduling too many individuals/groups on the same day. Upon arrival, the class must be accompanied by their Professor. The professor and students will show Hampton University ID’s, undergo temperature checks and be asked to sign in. 

Off-Campus Visitors


Individuals and Families are encouraged to call the Museum first and email Deanna  Brooks their vaccination information. This can be an image of their vaccination card or copy of their vaccination record. If this is not possible, or if the visitor does not call ahead, request that they show their vaccination card and a picture ID. Guests that accompany individuals, including children, must also have some form of vaccination card/record.  We will perform a brief temperature check and ask you to sign in at the podium.


Vendors/Consultants will need to be invited, vetted and must send their vaccination card to Dr. Thaxton-Ward. Once received, she will submit a request to have them visit the campus and the vendors/consultants will need to take the COVID-19 test before they can come to the museum.



Groups must call the museum first and provide vaccination cards for their entire group, including children. It there is a request for guided tours of groups of 10 or more you will receive final approval from Crystal Johnson, Director of Education and Community Programs.

University Archives

The Hampton University Archives continues to be closed to visitors due to renovations.  For assistance with select research request please email and  We will do our best to accommodate your request.


All hours and operation of the Hampton University Museum and Archives are subject to change.  Please follow us on Facebook and sign up on MailChimp to receive updates.


The Hampton University Museum is located in the Huntington Building (the former library) on the grounds of historic Hampton University campus. From Interstate 64, take exit 267/Hampton University and follow the signs to the museum.


Hampton University is committed to prevention and keeping the campus community safe, informed and healthy.  In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), effective immediately, all non-essential visitation to campus has been suspended until further notice.

The University Museum and Archives is closed to the General Public at this time. Please follow the Hampton University Museum on Facebook, Instagram, Mailchimp for updates, to purchase issues of The International Review of African American Art , virtual programming and to visit our new online store. or. Thank you for your support.

*The University Museum and Archives will be open ONLY for Hampton University faculty, staff and students to visit on Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. by appointment only. A Hampton University ID will be required upon entry. We ask that Hampton University Instructors schedule an appointment with the Museum’s Visitation Request Form.

Henry O. Tanner
The Banjo Lesson, 1893 Oil on canvas Gift of Robert C. Ogden


The purpose of the University Museum is to collect, preserve, study, exhibit, and interpret artifacts and works of traditional art which illustrate the cultures, heritages and histories of African, Native American, Oceanic and Asian peoples, as well as the works of contemporary African American, African and American Indian artists and three-dimensional objects which relate to the history and significance of Hampton University.




The Museum is composed of the world’s first collection of African American fine art, which began with the 1894 acquisition of two paintings by Henry O. Tanner. One of these paintings, The Banjo Lesson, is acknowledged as the most admired work by an African American artist. Hampton was the recipient of a gift of hundreds of artworks from the Harmon Foundation in 1967, which includes representation of most of the important artists from the Harlem Renaissance into the early 1960s. The museum also houses the Countee and Ida Cullen Art Collection; a group of 29 works of art acquired from the widow of the famed Harlem Renaissance poet. Among the most outstanding holdings are works by three important figures connected to the visual arts at Hampton: John T. Biggers, Elizabeth Catlett, and Samella S. Lewis. In addition to the African American Fine Art Collection, the Museum features African, Native American, and the Hampton History Galleries as permanent exhibitions. To learn more, please see our Collection History!


The Banjo Lesson is Tanner’s most famous painting.  It reflects Tanner’s conscious commitment to depicting African American in a compassionate manner.  A favorite of visitors to the Museum today, the painting was also well received in its time.  In 1894, The Banjo Lesson was admitted into the Paris Salon, the most prestigious annual juried exhibition in the city.  Robert C. Ogden, a philanthropist and chair of the then Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute’s Board of Trustees, bought the painting and donated it to Hampton in November of 1894.  The Banjo Lesson and another Tanner piece, The Lion’s Head (also owned by the Hampton University Museum), represent the first works of African Americans art to be collected by an American institution and form the cornerstone of Hampton’s outstanding fine arts collection.


The International Review of African American Art (IRAAA) is the ONLY periodical spanning the history of African American art and covering contemporary art, design and visual culture! Cross-disciplinary with a nexus in African American art, IRAAA deepens insight into numerous things while offering visual pleasure and stimulation. It is a window into all realms, real and imaginary; present, past and future. ART IS ALL!


IRAAA was formally known as Black Art: An International Quarterly and made its debut in 1976. It was published by Samella Lewis and two associates. It included an article on Elizabeth Catlett with a four-page color pull-out reproduction of a Catlett print titled Boys. The involvement of Lewis and Catlett in this important venture was the flowering of a long association. Lewis, the first African American woman to earn a PH.D. in art history (Ohio State, 1951), had been encouraged to pursue a career in art by Catlett. Catlett was the first college art teacher of Luis and became a lifelong friend. Black Art:An International Quarterly primarily covered the visual expression of black people in the United States and Africa.


In 1984, Black Art became The International Review of African American Art (IRAAA), as the publication was broadening its focus to include the visual art of African-descended people throughout the Americas. One of the special issues produced during this period was “Bahia: The Power of Tradition.” Its focus was on the visual arts of African-descended people in Brazil. In 1992, the operations of the IRAAA were transferred to Hampton University, Samella Lewis’ undergraduate alma mater.


For additional Information visit the FAQ page


Deanna Brooks, Assistant Editor of IRAAA
to subscribe or purchase issues



The University Archives officially opened its doors in 1972. The importance of establishing an archives was to prepare and make available for research the various papers and the impressive number of records documenting the history of Hampton Institute, now Hampton University. To learn more, please visit our University Archives!