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Davis Museum and Cultural Center
Wellesley College
106 Central Street

José Rafael Moneo, 1993

A severe red-brick mass from the outside, a light and exciting exhibition space from the inside, the Davis Museum and Cultural Center houses a 61,000-square foot museum along with a cinema, café and administration and conservations spaces. It is built opposite the 1958 Jewett Art Center, with which it completes a plaza. As Moneo describes it,

'The mass of the new museum was to be very simple-much more radical than the delicately crafted mass of Jewett. This cubic space could be understood as a coffer, presenting all at once the pieces in the collection.'

The dramatic approach to the Davis Museum from beneath the Jewett is below; the cinema is in the low-level block on the left, with the museum behind the massive blank red-brick wall on the right, whose scale becomes apparent only as you emerge from under the earlier building.

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The dramatic sawtooth windows covering the roof of the building provide natural light for all floors of the museum. Bright exhibition spaces on each floor contrast with more enclosed paths between each floor - stairways with treads so shallow they feel like walkways, with beautifully finished wood walls emerging into the next open and naturally-lit exhibition floor.

The attractive airiness of the museum was emphasised on my visit by the total absence of other visitors, despite an impressive if eclectic art collection spanning from ancient Chinese pottery to modern American abstract.

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Simon Glynn, 1999


How to visit

The museum is open to the public, with free admission and car parking.

The museum is in the Wellesley College campus in central Wellesley, about 45 minutes from Boston. Take the I90 west, then I95 (Route 128) south, then Route 16 west into central Wellesley. In the center, take Route 135 west (Central Street); Wellesley College is on your left. Follow signposts to find the right one of multiple entrances and the car parking for the museum.

More detailed information on how to get there, including public transportation, is provided by Wellesley College.

The museum is open every day except Mondays. To check times and up-to-date visiting information call +1 781 283 2051.

Books and other web sites


The Davis Museum and Cultural Center provides further information on the Wellesley College web site at www.davismuseum.wellesley.edu

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