5 Ways to Experience Duke’s Nasher Museum

From new exhibitions to an award-winning cafe, the Nasher is a work of art

Visitors explore one of the Nasher's newest exhibitions, “The New Galleries: A Collection Come to Light.
Visitors explore one of the Nasher's newest exhibitions, “The New Galleries: A Collection Come to Light." Photo by J Caldwell

John Caccavale describes himself as a Wall Street man. As executive director of the Duke Financial Economics Center, he connects Duke students to careers in finance.But his Duke identity is about more than dollars and cents; he has gotten involved in the campus art scene. He and his wife, Ruth, are Duke Nasher Museum of Art members, and they frequently attend artist talks, member receptions and exhibition openings.“It’s like buying stock. You’re part owner of the museum,” Caccavale said. “I have a much greater appreciation of how artists do some of the stuff that I see. I see the exhibits half a dozen or a dozen times, and you see something different every time.”This fall, as the Nasher Museum celebrates its 10th anniversary, new exhibitions are on display, community celebrations are planned, and the museum is holding weekly community events. Nasher Museum admission is always free for Duke staff, faculty and students.“Walking into this architectural space nurtures your soul,” said Nasher Director Sarah Schroth about visiting Duke’s art museum, “and going into a quiet gallery and contemplating a work of art is certainly feeding the soul.”Here are five things to explore at the Nasher this fall and beyond: See “A Collection Come to Light”One of the Nasher’s newest exhibitions, “The New Galleries: A Collection Come to Light,” will be on display through Sept. 18, 2016, and eight new gallery spaces are dedicated to artworks in this collection.Marshall Price, the curator of modern and contemporary art at the Nasher, said the exhibition covers 5,000 years of history, to include Greek vases and medieval stained glass to African masks. “I’m excited for people to see how vast the collection is, especially the areas of the collection that have not been on view for forever or for some time,” Price said.For information on current and upcoming exhibitions, visit the Nasher website. Become a Nasher member Duke employees receive a discount on an annual museum membership. For $40, Duke employees receive free admission, to include special ticketed exhibitions; a 10-percent discount to the Nasher Museum Store and Nasher Museum Cafe; a weekly e-newsletter, and more. The Duke Plus annual membership for employees is $125 and includes invitations to curator-led tours and receptions. Caccavale, the executive director of the Duke Financial Economics Center and Nasher Museum member, said one of the additional benefits is meeting other Duke employees. “This is also a good way to do networking within the university, and the Nasher brings people from all kinds of disciplines together,” Caccavale said. Attend creative workshops and family daysDuring the Nasher’s Family Days on select Sundays, admission is free for all. The next Family Day is Nov. 22, noon to 4 p.m. and includes live entertainment and a gallery hunt.The museum also offers a series of Nasher Creates workshops, ranging from sketching in the galleries to crafts, and the workshops are free with admission. Wine and dine at the cafeThe Nasher Museum Cafe always incorporates ingredients from local sources, such as Kipos Greek Taverna in Chapel Hill, Latta’s Egg Ranch in Hillsborough and The Cultured Cow Creamery in Durham, into its seasonal menus.    Cafe manager Aidan Peters said the Nasher exhibitions inspire their menus, and customer favorites are the Asian cabbage salad, red, white and green panini, and the warm chocolate lava cake with amarena cherry gelato. The café also offers a beer and wine selection.“What other restaurant can you go to where instead of waiting on a bench for your table, you can go enjoy beautiful art?” Peters asked. “It’s a staple eatery for the Duke community, and faculty members love having their meetings here to impress visitors with the surroundings and the Durham food concept of supporting small and local businesses.”Celebrate the Nasher’s 10th birthdayThe Duke and Durham communities are invited to celebrate the Nasher’s 10th anniversary. There is a free afternoon celebration planned for Oct. 4 at the museum during Duke Homecoming weekend, as well as a downtown Durham block party on Oct. 10. To find out more, visit the Nasher10 calendar.