More About Collections

Although the Wustum family established a community arts center in 1938, the center had no art collection display. That changed in 1941 when it officially became the Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Arts and appointed its first director, Sylvester Jerry. His former position as leader of the Michigan State WPA art program made the Wustum Museum an attractive destination for the work resulting from this program.

The original WPA collection at Wustum concentrated on works on paper from Wisconsin and New York based artists, as well as textiles produced through the Milwaukee Handicraft Project, which provided opportunities to manufacture everything from draperies to toys.

Fifty years later, the collection experienced another leap forward and a focus in contemporary crafts when it received a landmark gift of 200 objects from Karen Johnson Boyd, a prominent collector. Under the care of the current Executive Director and Curator of Collections Bruce W. Pepich and thanks to generous gifts from benefactors like Dale and Doug Anderson and Donna Moog, the Wustum Museum gradually acquired an impressive collection of contemporary crafts from the 1990s onward.

Today, RAM possesses one of the largest collections of contemporary teapots and artist-made jewelry of any museum in North America.

Toshiko Takaezu
From the Star Series, 1999-2000
Glazed stoneware
Gift of the artist

Mary Giles
Shadow Profile, 2001
Dyed line and metal
Gift of David and Jacqueline Charak

Joel Philip Myers
Red Valmuen with Red Poppies
Gift of Donald and Carol Wiiken

Arline Fisch
Woven Feathers Bracelet
Sterling and fine silver, Macaw feathers, Egyptian faience beads
Gift of Jane R. Gittings in Memory of Irene Purcell Johnson

Tom Rauschke and Kaaren Wiken
Forest Goblet
Ash and dyed cotton embroidery thread
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Richard Mansfield

Elise Winters
Chrysalis Brooches
Polymer and metal
Gift of Woody Rudin