History

The Harn Museum opened in 1990 and, since then, has become an inextricable part of the University of Florida’s academic community. The museum was named for Samuel Peebles Harn. His widow, children, and grandchildren donated the foundational funds that made it possible to build the museum. Together, the three Harn generations gave more than $3 million to build the museum.

After it opened in 1990, the Harn Museum dedicated itself to serving the entire Gainesville community by providing a range of programming to fit a broad swath of interests and by offering free admission to the museum. Because we feel strongly about making art accessible to everybody regardless of their financial means, we are particularly proud to continue the tradition of free admission into the present.

Our facilities grew again in October 2005, when the 18,000-square-foot Mary Ann Harn Cofrin Pavilion opened. The pavilion was funded by a gift from the David A. Cofrin family and named for a daughter of Samuel Harn. The pavilion includes exhibition space, classroom spaces, and a cafe, which provided much-needed shared space for museum visitors and staff to congregate and mingle. This community-oriented space fosters the Harn Museum’s mission of making art accessible to all and encouraging dialog.

Our most recent addition opened in 2012, when the 26,000-square-foot David A. Cofrin Asian Art Wing opened its doors. The Harn Museum has an extensive permanent collection of Asian art, and this facility allows us to display a broader selection and greater number of pieces at any given time.

We started our career as contractors and providing a service to our local community. We fixed cell phones and worked in the computer repair niche in Buffalo. We ended up selling this company and we believe they are still around.