The Kluge-Ruhe Study Center


Joe Gumbula and Louise Hamby conduct research in the Kluge-Ruhe Collection Study Center.
The Kluge-Ruhe Study Center consists of the archives of Professor Edward L. Ruhe (1923-89) and a reference library containing resources on Aboriginal art and ethnography, exhibition catalogues, videotapes, DVDs and other media. To use the Study Center, please contact the Kluge-Ruhe Collection or 434-244-0234 to make an appointment.

When Ed Ruhe first went to Australia as a Fulbright Scholar in 1965, he began collecting books, ephemera and other materials, which now form the core of the Kluge-Ruhe Study Center.

The Ruhe archives include:

• approximately 1,500 pieces of correspondence on Aboriginal art
• a collection of rare exhibition catalogues on Aboriginal art dating from the 1920s to the 1980s
• photographs and slides of bark paintings and artifacts
• records and cassette tapes of Aboriginal musical performances
• a database of over 500 Aboriginal artists
• a library on Aboriginal life and culture comprising several hundred volumes

Ruhe corresponded with leading museum curators, anthropologists and collectors around the world who shared his interest in Aboriginal art. One of his primary aims was to give well-deserved and long overdue artistic recognition to Aboriginal artists. He created a database that includes biographical data for over 500 Aboriginal painters and carvers, including genealogical information and lists of exhibitions and publications. Ruhe also promoted public awareness of Aboriginal artists and their works by exhibiting portions of his collection in locations around the United States from 1966 to 1977.

The Kluge-Ruhe Study Center continues to build on the Ruhe archives to provide a cross-section of materials pertaining to Aboriginal art and culture.

Currently the north wing of the museum is being renovated specifically to house the Kluge-Ruhe Study Center. A dedicated space will create a quiet and private space for researchers and a unified, climate-controlled location for all of the media, including the library and the Ruhe archives. This new space will open on March 21, 2014, and a reception will celebrate its opening from 5:30 – 7:30 pm.