Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University

For those who enjoy immersing themselves in the arts, Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University should be high on your Silicon Valley to-do list.

Offering a ‘diverse collection spanning continents, cultures, and 5,000 years of art history’, Cantor Arts Center contains the largest exhibit of bronze works outside of Paris by French sculptor, Auguste Rodin. Best known for The Thinker and The Kiss, most of Rodin’s noteworthy creations are housed at Paris’s Musée Rodin.

Two hundred Rodin sculptures are on display at Cantor Arts Center, with one hundred seventy occupying three ground-floor galleries and numerous other bronzes, including the infamous Gates of Hell, which took Rodin twenty years to complete, inhabiting the museum’s Sculpture Garden.

In addition to Rodin’s inspirational bronzes, the museum offers collections from Europe and America, Africa, Oceania, Native America, and Asia. The Arts Center also offers a variety of rotating exhibitions, lectures, docent-led tours, workshops, and special events. Modern and contemporary works, prints, drawings and photographs as well as the Stanford Family Collection round out the museum’s impressive artwork line-up.

Originally named the Leland Stanford Jr. Museum, the Cantor Arts Center was founded in 1891, at the same time as Stanford University. The Stanford family, including University namesake, Leland Jr., travelled extensively acquiring artwork and cultural items that they found intriguing. Constructed as a place to display their impressive collection for the enjoyment of University students as well as the public, Cantor Arts Center opened its doors in 1894. Twelve years later, the building and much of its contents were severely damaged by the 1906 earthquake. In 1945, the museum closed after years of neglect, but in 1963, it began its first revival. The Rodin Sculpture Garden was established in 1985. Four years later, the museum was once again impacted by an earthquake, forced to close its doors for the second time after the Loma Prieta temblor. In 1999, restoration of the original, historic building and construction of a new wing began in earnest. The museum’s resounding renaissance can be attributed to the multitude of art lovers in the community and the commitment of University students and staff.

Located at 328 Lomita Drive at Museum Way in Stanford, Cantor Arts Center is open Wednesday through Monday from 11am to 5pm, except Thursdays when it closes at 8pm. The Sculpture Garden is open 24 hours a day and is stunningly lit for night-time viewing. Admission is free.

For visitor information, directions, and details on it’s cultural collections, visit the Cantor Arts Center website.