Research Ruminations

A Day (or Two or Twenty) at the Fowler Museum

Writers: Mugita Kurosaki, Erin Kwak
Editors: Selena Perez, Samvit Garg, Katherine King, Julia Torres

Cultural enrichment is important in a community to understand and appreciate the diverse peoples, cultures, and religions of the world. UCLA is honored to have the Fowler Museum, which demonstrates these values with dynamic exhibitions, publications, and public programs.

The museum, open Wednesday through Sunday from 12 PM to 5 PM, is located in the northern part of UCLA, adjacent to Royce Hall and Glorya Kaufman Hall. Admission is always free to the public!

Map to the Fowler Museum

In addition, the Fowler provides a quiet place to study. Students are welcome to study in the Elizabeth and W. Thomas Davis Courtyard, located inside the building. A beautiful fountain in the center and polished tiled floorings can often make you forget that you’re in Los Angeles, making for a great hideaway spot to escape the hustle and bustle of the UCLA campus.

Elizabeth and W. Thomas Davis Courtyard

Multiple spots at the Fowler are available for both students and non-students to rent. Whether it is a wedding reception, film screening, intimate dinner, seminar, or club banquet, you can make your event all the more memorable by hosting it at the Fowler Museum.

Furthermore, Fowler provides jobs, research, and volunteering opportunities which students can apply for here. Students eligible for work-study can work as Gallery Attendants to help facilitate visiting school groups, as Bilingual Educators to work with non-English-speaking visitors, or as Gallery Supervisors to assure that safety is maintained inside the museum. For Public History majors, there are internships available in which students work 80 hours per quarter completing various museum-specific tasks with a curator. There are also independent research opportunities offered through SRP 99 (Student Research Program). Dr. Carlee Forbes, a Mellon Curatorial Fellow at the Fowler Museum, encourages students to seek out these opportunities, saying, “There [is] so much here. You’[re] never going [to] be repeating what someone else is doing. Museums are always going to offer a way for students to do independent original research.”

Finally, don’t forget to take a look at the exhibitions put together by the amazing Fowler curatorial staff! The displays feature artwork by international contemporary artists and explores global arts and cultures from Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and the Indigenous Americas—both past and present. The curatorial staff usually spends three to five years developing exciting, informative, thought-provoking, and thematically-cohesive exhibitions.

According to the Fowler website, the two exhibitions on display for a limited time are Janyak: Armenian Art of Knots and Loops (April 23 – October 15, 2023), Remain in Light: Visions of Homeland and Diaspora (June 11 – October 15, 2023), and Myrlande Constant: The Work of Radiance (March 26 – August 27, 2023). Janyak features doilies made by Armenian genocide survivor Marie Pilibossian (1898–1986), displaying the survival tactic, generational bridge, and political resolve of Armenians through precise and creative artistry. Remain in Light paints the story about immigration from Armenia to the United States using photographs taken by Los Angeles local Armenian artists, Sossi Madzounian, Ara Mgrdichian, and Ara Oshagan. The Work of Radiance presents the 30-year-long career of Haitian artist Myrlande Constant, who depicted Haitian story and life with extraordinarily innovative and lustrous hand-beaded textiles.

Janyak: Armenian Art of Knots and Loops
Remain in Light: Visions of Homeland and Diaspora
Myrlande Constant: The Work of Radiance

A new exhibition will be beginning at Fowler this summer too. The Gala Porras-Kim: The Weight of a Patina of Time (July 9 – October 29, 2023) focuses on the work by Gala Porras-Kim and addresses the challenges of maintaining knowledge over centuries in shifting institutional contexts. The exhibition will feature Mexican archeology and there will be a combination of existing large-scale pieces and new smaller works, some making their Los Angeles debut.

Gala Porras-Kim: The Weight of a Patina of Time

The Fowler Museum makes it a point to present these complex cultural themes, spotlighting the artists’ dialogue and expanding visitors’ horizons. Whether welcoming one-time visitors, or repeat attendees who see each exhibition multiple times, the museum seeks to be a place where all can find belonging and connection.

As Dr. Forbes puts it, “We’re here for you! Whether that is studying in the courtyard, visiting the exhibition with your parents, or working on your research.”



Collage of janyaks or Armenian needle lace doilies created by Marie Pilibossian (b. 1898, Gesaria-Kaiseri, Turkey; d. 1986, Los Angeles, USA), early to mid-20th century; thread and needle used as a knotting tool; Fowler Museum at UCLA, X80.1162; Gift of Marie Pilibossian
Sossi Madzounian (b. 1957, Beirut, Lebanon), The Light Under Dark Clouds, October 2015; © Sossi Madzounian
Myrlande Constant (b. 1968, Port-au-Prince, Haiti), Rasanbleman Soupe Tout Eskòt Yo (All the escort gathering for supper) (detail), 2019; fabric, beads, and sequins; Collection of Alan Faena; Courtesy of Faena Art; Photo: Elon Schoenholz
Gala Porras-Kim (b. 1984, Bogotá; lives and works in Los Angeles), 254 offerings for the rain at the Peabody Museum (detail), 2021; color pencil and acrylic vinyl paint on paper; Private Collection; © Gala Porras-Kim; image courtesy of the artist and Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles, Mexico City. Photo: Paul Salveson