skip navigation

The Eleanor D. Wilson Museum | Hollins University


Current Exhibitions

The Eleanor D. Wilson Museum is
open by appointment.

See below to visit our current exhibitions online.
You can also find us on Facebook @eleanordwilsonmuseum
and Instagram @wilsonmuseum
Dorothy Gillespie: Tabletop Sculptures
August 12 - October 3, 2021

Dorothy Gillespie (1920-2012) enjoyed an active, seven-decade career as an artist, educator, and influencer who challenged traditional female roles. A Roanoke, Virginia native, Gillespie attended the Maryland Institute College of Art (1940-43) before moving to New York City where she spent most of her life. Gillespie was a highly prolific artist who experimented with a variety of media including painting, sculpture, printmaking, happenings, installations, jewelry, and set design. In the 1970s, she played an important role in the women’s art movement and actively encouraged and promoted women artists throughout her career.

Gillespie is best known for her large-scale, colorfully painted metal sculptures; however, this exhibition focuses on her tabletop works. These diminutive pieces, on loan from the artist’s studio in Narrowsburg, New York, parallel many of the forms, color, and movement of her large-scale sculptures. They illustrate her process of painting, cutting, bending, and manipulating metal into a variety of forms and shapes. Richard Martin, former editor of ARTS Magazine, described Gillespie’s small tabletop sculptures as “sea creatures, dancers, polychromed and playful spiders, meteorites, chrysanthemums, and cartoon octopuses.”

gillespie starburst

Dorothy Gillespie, Starburst. Aluminum with enamel paint. Photo by Kyra Schmidt.


Expanding Narratives:
Conversations with the Collection
currently available online

Faculty members from across academic divisions have collaborated with museum staff to select works from the collection that investigate key course concepts and provide extended access to the individual works of art. Participating departments include art history, biology, classics, English, gender and women studies, history, philosophy, psychology, sociology, and studio art.

and now her own

Tip Toland, And Now Her Own, 2019. Stoneware clay and mixed media. Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University, 2020.001.


Unveiling the Past: Reckoning with Our History of Enslavement at Hollins
currently available online

In spring 2020, students in the Cultural Property, Rights and Museum course began working on an exhibit, Unveiling the Past: Reckoning with Our History of Enslavement at Hollins University, in conjunction with members of the Hollins University Working Group on Slavery and Its Contemporary Legacies. The exhibit examines objects and images held by the University Archives in the Wyndham Robertson Library at Hollins University. Material researched by students are on display in this virtual exhibit. Those working on this exhibit wanted to create a public space to reckon with our Hollins past and give a forum to those who were not given a voice, name, space, or attention in the past. It is the goal of this exhibit to show the lasting effects slavery has had, and continues to have, here; and, to recognize that Hollins continues to benefit from a history of enslavement.

clem in long coat

Clement “Clem” Read Bolden (b. ≈ 1846, d. February 19, 1929). Courtesy of the University Archives in the Wyndham Robertson Library at Hollins University.


Exploring Visual and Conceptual Space:
Student Selections from the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum
currently available online

Using selected works from the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum’s permanent collection, student curators put theory into practice in this virtual exhibit which is the culmination of the spring class, “Behind the Scenes: Principles and Practice.” As part of the class, students collaborate and share responsibility for conceptualizing, researching, designing, and interpreting a cohesive exhibition. Each student selected two works that spoke to them based on academic, personal, and aesthetic interests. The exhibit features works created by well-known artists Giovanni Battista Piranesi, John James Audubon, Käthe Kollwitz, Paul Klee, Salvador Dalí, and Andy Warhol, as well as works by Hedley Fitton, Jean Lurçat, Paule Gobillard, Eudora Welty, and others.

When placed together, these works form an image of the Eleanor D. Wilson collection as a small but artistically and historically rich collection – especially when seen through the eyes of Hollins student curators Madelyn Farrow, Faith Herrington, Sylvia Lane, Mairwen Minson, Kaiya Ortiz, Valerie Sargeant, and Maddie Zanie.


Henry Varnum Poor, Anne, c. 1940s. Oil on panel, 8.5 x 7” (framed). Art department acquisition, 1946. Courtesy of the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University, 2005.283.


Hollins University
Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University
Box 9679 : 8009 Fishburn Drive : Roanoke, VA 24020
(540) 362-6532 •
Tues-Sun: 12-5 pm
Thurs: 12-8 pm
twitter facebook