The Tweed Today

Today the Tweed occupies a 33,000-square-foot facility with 9,190 square feet of exhibition space. Its collections of ten thousand objects include European, American, and global art. 

Annual art education activities involve four thousand individuals—the majority of whom are schoolchildren. Outreach programming is developed in conjunction with UMD art education faculty and Minnesota teachers. 

Contemporary (temporary) paintings and murals by local artists or groups are expressions of the Northland’s communities and have been underwritten by Minnesota State Arts Board grants and donor contributions.

The Tweed functions as an art-collecting and teaching museum that promotes learning through collections stewardship, exhibits, and diverse art programs for all ages (Artist/Gallery Talks, workshops, panel discussions, performances, film screenings, music, Family Days, K-12 tours, and more). 

The Tweed is part of the university and works closely with UMD students, UMD seniors, and faculty in generating exhibits and programs while serving the public in the surrounding rural and urban communities, Minnesota, and bordering states such as Wisconsin and Michigan as well as Canada. The Museum serves several Indian reservations in the region and focuses on core programming on the Native arts for all communities. The Tweed has done significant outreach to Indigenous communities and is developing specific outreach to African American and Black, Asian, and Latinx community members. 

The Tweed is the only fine arts museum in northern Minnesota with global and diverse collections, making it a significant public resource.


History of the Tweed

Tweed house

George P. and Alice Tweed's home on East Seventh Street in Duluth. It housed the donated collection from 1950 until the museum space opened on campus in 1958.

About George P. Tweed

Born in Warsaw, Minnesota, in 1871, George P. Tweed moved to Duluth in 1888 and spent the remainder of his life here. He graduated from Duluth High School and went into business at an early age in the field of foreign exchange, then he embarked on a career in real estate and loans as well as mining of Minnesota and Michigan iron ore. Later he moved on to banking and finance. Over the course of his successful business career, he and his wife, Alice, assembled a major collection. Several years after the death of Mr. Tweed, Alice Tweed married Dr. Edward L. Tuohy.


Tweed Gallery was founded with Alice Tweed’s original donation (subsequently, five hundred paintings were given by 1973) to serve students and other Minnesotans. 


On September 20, 1950, Tweed Gallery officially opened to the public in what had been the George P. and Alice Tweed home at 2531 East Seventh Street, Duluth. At the formal opening of Tweed Gallery, President James L. Morrill of the University of Minnesota stated: 

“The most important single benefaction in the field of art ever presented to the University of Minnesota is the collection of paintings and other arts given by Mrs. George P. Tweed of Duluth in memory of her late husband.”

tweed construction
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tweed construction interior
tweed doors
tweed lobby
tweed balcony

The Tweed Museum of Art on the UMD campus was dedicated and opened to the public on October 19, 1958, thanks to the support of Mrs. Alice Tweed Tuohy and her daughter, Bernice Brickson.

tweed dedication
Dedication of the Tweed Museum of Art (formerly Tweed Gallery), Oct. 19, 1958
Speaker: Alice Tweed Tuohy 
Photo: Tweed Museum of Art Archives
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Dedication of the Tweed Museum of Art (formerly Tweed Gallery), Oct. 19, 1958
Speaker: James Lewis Morrill, President, University of Minnesota
Photo: Tweed Museum of Art Archives

The Tweed Museum’s facilities expanded with the support of Mrs. Alice Tweed Tuohy. Almost doubling the exhibition space, the new building made it possible to show much larger segments of the permanent collections and provided a gallery to showcase student work.


The Court Gallery and new Museum offices were added thanks to a grant from the Alice Tweed Tuohy Foundation.


The construction of the Sax Sculpture Conservatory and Sculpture Courtyard were added with an endowment gift from Simon, Milton, and Jonathon Sax.


The Museum acquired the Richard E. and Dorothy Rawlings Nelson Collection of American Indian Art. A modest yet comprehensive collection, it inspired the Museum to begin collecting contemporary American Indian arts.


The Tweed Advisory Board raised funds for the installation of a fifty-foot-long display case for the American Indian works from the Richard E. and Dorothy Rawlings Nelson collection (the Nelson Case).


The Museum upgraded its heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems to improve air quality and provide a stable environment to protect and preserve the Tweed’s collections.


Given the generous funds and grants by the Alice Tweed Tuohy Foundation, the Tweed garnered much-needed dedicated educational spaces and updated to a more contemporary and attractive environment.

The removal of the carpet on the second floor revealed the beautiful 1960s concrete floor, giving the space a professional look. The Tweed and on- and off-campus communities benefit from new spaces, such as the Study Room on the second floor, that allow for teaching with original artworks. There is also the Maker/Communities Space near the entrance, a dedicated space for K-12 teachers to organize workshops and arts activities using a variety of media—furnished with colorful pieces by Loll Design—and an office for the Museum’s educator. 

The Gift Store, which has existed for decades, was relocated to a larger space and given more prominence. Glass doors throughout allow visitors to peek in. Its contemporary lighting showcases the local merchandise for which Tweed’s Gift Store is celebrated.  

During the pandemic in 2021–2022, the Tweed hosted a traveling exhibit, Black Survival Guide, or How to Live through a Police Riot, featuring Hank Willis Thomas’s titular work (2018). Organized by the Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, the exhibition received generous support from Art Bridges and was funded in part by the John T. and Elizabeth C. Adams Arts Fund of the Community Foundation, the advisory board members of the Tweed Museum of Art, and members of Duluth's communities. 

Other recent major programs include the National Endowment for the Humanities–funded 2020 exhibit Creating Apart: Local Artists Respond to a Global Pandemic, and the 2020–2021 retrospective of Ojibwe artist Carl Gawboy, in addition to contemporary, site-specific temporary art (Adam Swanson; Jonathan Thunder; Moira Villiard, Carla Hamilton, and Iasha Bolton), and student-launched and faculty guest–curated exhibits.