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Our Visit to the Zimmerli Museum in New Brunswick

Zimmerli Museum in New BrunswickYesterday Z.E.N. and I visited the Zimmerli Museum in New Brunswick. This museum, which is one of the largest and most acclaimed museums in the nation, is located on the campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. It was founded in 1966. More than 60,000 works of art are housed there, including American art dating back from the 18th century, Russian and Soviet art, and European art which strongly focuses on art from 19th century France. The Zimmerli Museum also houses a rare books collection.

I was particularly interested in checking out their Children’s Book Illustrations Exhibit which seemed like it was geared towards younger children like Z.E.N. I was right. We arrived at the museum just in time for their 1:00 tour. Our tour guide was great and described almost all of the illustration that was on display. Z.E.N. was also interested in hearing the actual stories behind the illustrations and our guide graciously recounted most of the stories for him. They also had an art station set up within the within the exhibit room, so Z.E.N drew 2 pictures.

Z.E.N. Artwork

There was also a scavenger hunt underway. So after leaving the Children’s Book Exhibit, we picked up our list of clues and made our way through all of the exhibits while trying to solve the clues.

We first visited the American art collection. This was a nice sized collection and there were lots of great modern art works to be seen. We then headed over to the Russian and Soviet art collection.


The Norton & Nancy Dodge Collection of Nonconformist Art, which features art work from the 1950’s through the 1980’s, is known to be the largest and most extensive collection of its kind worldwide. The collection features art work from all of the Soviet Republics and includes over 17,000 works of art. While viewing the exhibit, we saw a lot of dissident art from the Cold War period.

Russian Collection Zimmerli

Leonid Lam – The Morning of Our Motherland (Labor Camp Near Rostov-On-Don)

The George Riabov Collection of Russian Art features over 1,100 works of Russian art dating all the way back to the 14th century. In this collection, you’ll find works that feature landscapes, Russian architecture and Russian Orthodox icons.

Russian Collection Zimmerli 2

Gisha Bruskin – From the series The Birth of The Hero -1985

Finally, we visited the European collection located in the Museum’s lower level. The works of art in the European collection dates back to the 15th century. This particular collection was pretty small, but featured a lot of wonderful paintings and sculptures.

Zimmerli Museum Sculpture

George Segal – The Pregnancy Series: Seven Stages – 1978

At this point, we had gathered all of the clues for the scavenger hunt and Z.E.N was rewarded with a prize.

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This museum is truly a hidden gem. We really enjoyed our visit. It was not crowded, the staff was very friendly and took their time explaining the art work to us, and the art work was lovely. We will definitely be back.

The Zimmerli Art Museum is located at 71 Hamilton Street (at the corner of George Street on the College Avenue campus of Rutgers University), in New Brunswick, NJ. The museum is open on Tues.-Fri. from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and on Sat. from noon-5 p.m. On the first Wednesday of each month (except August), the museum is open from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. The museum is closed on major holidays and for the month of August. Admission costs $6, $5 seniors (over 65), free for museum members, Rutgers students, faculty and staff and children under 18. Admission is free on the first Sunday of each month. For information, call 732-932-7237 or go to

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About the author

Diane Nassy

Diane is a New Jersey-based writer and blogger. She is a wife and the mom of a 9-year-old little boy. Through her blog, she wants to inspire moms to find Zen in their lives while offering practical tips and other valuable information to help families deal with everyday issues. Check out Diane's Google+ profile "