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Asian Arts & Culture Center records

 Record Group
Identifier: 002-006-003-008

Scope and Contents

The collection is composed of correspondence, minutes, reports, programs, announcements, and other material related to the governance and events created by the Asian Arts and Culture Center.


  • Creation: 1971-2021


Biographical / Historical

While looking for ways to incorporate more art in everyday places for the students of Towson State College [TSC], President James Fisher and Vice President Paul Wisdom approached a local businessman, Frank G. Roberts, about donating his collection of ivory to the school in 1971. This donation and a matching grant the same year from the National Endowment for the Humanities were the catalysts for the creation of not only the Asian Arts Gallery, but also educational programs, cultural events, classes, and future donations.

The grant allowed TSC to invest in an innovative educational program. Called the “Asiavan”, a traveling exhibit was created and taken to area schools and festivals to showcase Towson’s collections. Other programs created included lecture and movie series, dance and musical performances, and special exhibitions. It also allowed TSC to offer more classes that specialized in Asian history and culture. The connections made through the Asian Arts program were especially significant at a time when America was still immersed in the conflict in Vietnam.

The Gallery was first housed on the fifth floor of the Albert S. Cook Library, but was given its own space in the newly constructed Fine Arts Center, now the Center for the Arts, in 1973. A number of curators and directors were employed to oversee the center in the 1970s, including J. Brooks Joyner, Jane E. Ostryniec, and Ock-Kyung Lee. From 1978 until 1986 Harriet McNamee was the Director and Curator, and from 1986 until 2013, the position was filled by Suewhei Shieh. Currently, Nerissa Palinauan Daniels serves the Asian Arts and Culture Center as Program Director.

The Center now holds about 1,000 objects from China, Korea, Japan, India, Tibet, Nepal, Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand.


.25 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Related Materials

UA23010 – Records of the Department of Art + Design, Art History, Art Education

Guide to the Asian Arts & Culture Center records
In Progress
Felicity Knox (updated by John Esh, 2020)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Towson University Special Collections and University Archives Repository

Albert S. Cook Library
8000 York Rd
Towson MD 21252 United States