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NIU Art Museum Ranks In Country's Top 50

Katie Finlon

The Northern Illinois University Art Museum has been ranked among the 50 best college art museums in the country on a CollegeRank.net list written by a museum director in northern Illinois.

NIU’s Art Museum was listed as No. 34 in the article. The University of Illinois art museum was listed as No. 48.

All of the museums mentioned in the article were numbered in descending order. The intention was not to imply one was better than another, but to recognize all 50 for their unique qualities, according to Ashlee Grude, author of the list and currently the Downer’s Grove Museum supervisor.

“So, the spot that, you know, the NIU art museum is on is not necessarily where I feel it falls within those 50 museums,” Grude said.

Grude says she based the rankings on criteria like the types of collections that the college art museums held and how much support they receive from their universities and surrounding communities.

“It’s very encouraging to see those websites not just be about, ‘Well, you know, we have a very good placement record or we’re well-ranked academically,’ but to also be inclusive of what sort of cultural things are accessible in that area,” NIU Art Museum curator Pete Olson said.

Olson says it’s a good idea for prospective college students to pay attention to lists like this because it helps them determine the type of support the university receives in general.

“So it’s not just what kind of classes you will be taking, but where you will be spending your time and living your life,” Olson said. “And you ask most anybody what impacted them about college – they’ll say it’s the people they met and the things they did outside of class.”

Grude says it’s especially important now, given the current Illinois budget situation.

Grude graduated from NIU with an anthropology degree.

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