skip navigation

Cravens World: The Human Aesthetic

Permanent Display

UB Anderson Gallery













Annette Cravens, MSW ’68, of Buffalo, New York, has donated her multimillion dollar collection of archaeological and ethnographic objects—dating as far back as 4,500 BC- to the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences.

The collection has been curated into a world-class permanent installation, Cravens World, which presents an innovative, inspired design for “open storage,” a space or room in a museum providing visible access to an entire collection. Objects from around the world are displayed in transparent, acrylic cubes shaped into a life-size globe that seemingly reaches to the sky. On this display, 126 objects can be experienced from 360-degree views, which are organized into six thematic groups. Wall cabinets and drawers in the room house another 451 objects organized by geographic location. An interactive touch screen will allow visitors to access information on the objects, and gain information about the cultures, countries, people and artists who created them. The universality of the human aesthetic is apparent to the visitor standing in the Cravens Room. Even more observable is the stunning diversity of expression by individuals across many generations and traditions.

The Cravens collection creates a watershed moment for the university, boosting its profile as a center for world cultural heritage research and extends the vibrant role UB Anderson Gallery plays in the education of students, both at the university and elementary and high-school levels.

A collection of this stature makes UB a center of excellence in regards to material culture studies and research. Students have the benefit of access to a collection that can be used to teach them to study, draw, and research and curate objects. Outreach to school children from kindergarten to high school will be an integral part of the project. Not only does this further the mission of UB in educating and reaching out to the Buffalo community, it speaks to Annette Cravens’ tireless work to support Buffalo’s intellectual life via arts, theater and the university.

The collection affects a significant expansion of the university’s collection, nearly doubling its size and exponentially broadening its contents. Formerly focused on European and American modern and contemporary art, the Cravens collection extends the reach of the visual arts at UB Anderson Gallery from modern to ancient times.

The Cravens Collection Project is funded by the UB College of Arts and Sciences with generous support from Annette Cravens. It includes the assessment, research and management of the donated collection of archaeological and ethnographic objects; archives of written documents, oral histories, photos and artwork from around the world; reconstruction of two rooms in the UB Anderson Gallery and outreach activities. The project also includes the creation of a virtual museum interfaced with an online multimedia database, as well as the production of an educational video game.

Annette Cravens continues a family philanthropic tradition at UB that began more than 75 years ago. Her father, Dr. Edgar McGuire, succeeded Dr. Roswell Park as professor of surgery and medicine at the university until his death in 1931. A few years later, Annette’s mother, Mildred, married Thomas B. Lockwood, who built the original Lockwood Library on the south campus and later gave his collection of rare books to the university.

In 1984 she contributed the original renderings of Lockwood Library to the university. She and her children worked with university administrators to establish a lecture series in the poetry collection in memory of her mother. She also donated a medical instruments collection to UB —dating from the early Roman period to the late 19th century—in memory of her father, Dr. Edgar R. McGuire. In 2007 the UB Alumni Association gave Cravens its highest award, the Capen Award, for her contributions to the university.

Guided tours available by appointment.  Please contact Senior Curator Rachel Adams at (716) 645-0570 or email