History & Mission

Art Collection For Museum Dale Chihuly, Gilded and Amber Chandelier, detail


The Barry Art Museum is a cultural hub at Old Dominion University that advances the understanding of art in its many diverse forms through collecting, display, interpretation, and research. It strives to communicate the results of these endeavors to the widest possible audience through publication, exhibition, educational programs, and collections stewardship.


In the summer of 2015, Carolyn and Richard Barry approached Old Dominion University President John Broderick and Kate Broderick with an idea. Would the University be interested in a new art museum with the gift of their collection, which includes glass sculpture and American modernist paintings by important artists?

The Suffolk couple had a longstanding relationship with the Brodericks as well as with the University. Carolyn Barry taught math there in the 1960s, and Richard Barry’s involvements included serving on the Board of Visitors for eight years in the 1980s, two of those years as Rector. His father, Richard Barry Jr., had been a math professor at Old Dominion for 25 years. In addition, the Barrys had given funds toward the Barry Arts Building, which opened in 2014 on Monarch Way.

To proceed, President Broderick commissioned a feasibility study. Once a site was selected, and the architect chosen, the Barrys agreed to fund the cost of construction and support Museum operations. They created The Old Dominion University Museum Foundation to operate the Museum.

Founded in 2016, the Barry Art Museum is a cultural and educational destination. As collectors, the Barrys followed their hearts. Their passion resulted in a unique permanent collection, providing us an opportunity to portray rich, cultural stories through our considerable holdings in glass, painting, and historical dolls and automata.

As an affiliate of Old Dominion University, we are proud to serve as a resource to both students and the community at large. We offer a wide variety of programs free for the public’s enjoyment, such as lectures, festivals, tours, events and performances.