Santa Clara University

A Half Century of Art and History at SCU

Painter/Poet with Red Line
Approximately half of the Museum's 10,000 permanent collection objects are works on paper, like this contemporary print by Bay Area artist Matt Phillips.
For the past 50 years, the de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University has been collecting, preserving, exhibiting, and interpreting objects of art and history. Located adjacent to Mission Santa Clara de Asís, the de Saisset is one of only a few Catholic university museums to be accredited by the American Association of Museums. The museum’s location on campus offers SCU unique ways of furthering its educational mission.

“Through its exhibitions and collections, the museum allows students and faculty to expand the walls of the classroom,” says Rebecca M. Schapp, the museum’s director. An example of this is the museum’s California History Collection, which includes Native American art and artifacts from the pre-European contact period as well as a Mission Collection. Each year, the museum gives free tours of the collection to thousands of children from Santa Clara Valley, bringing to life their region’s history.

Home Quilt
Recent additions to the collection, such as this painting by Inez Storer, represent the rich diversity of contemporary art in the Bay Area.

Founded in 1955 through a bequest from Isabel de Saisset in memory of her brother Ernest, the museum’s permanent collection includes more than 10,000 objects, including Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, and 19th-century prints, as well as Modernist prints by Marc Chagall and Pablo Picasso. The museum also has an extensive collection of contemporary prints, with a special emphasis on artists from the San Francisco Bay Area, such as Robert Arneson, Richard Diebenkorn, and Nathan Oliveira. The museum's photography collection includes hundreds of prints by artists

Pilate Washing his Hands
In art history workshops, SCU students have the opportunity to study prints such as this Durer engraving up close.
such as Ansel Adams and Ruth Bernhard.

The museum also offers essential hands-on internships to SCU art students, and faculty members often use the exhibitions to enhance classroom lessons. This fall, the museum is presenting two photography exhibitions that explore the tragedy of the Holocaust. In conjunction, the museum is co-sponsoring a special class, Representing the Holocaust, for learners age 50 and older through SCU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

The de Saisset Museum offers free admission and is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit

Untitled (Forest in Fog)
Brett Weston, Untitled (Forest in Fog), 1962


—Victoria Hendel De La O is a writer/editor for the SCU Office of Communications and Marketing.

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