The Meadows Museum opened in 1965 as part of the new Owen Arts Center at SMU. In the years that followed, Algur Meadows provided the impetus and funds for an aggressive, but highly selective, acquisitions program through which an extraordinary collection was developed in a remarkably short period of time. Since his death in 1978, The Meadows Foundation and numerous donors have provided ongoing support for continued development of the museum’s permanent collection, nearly doubling its collection of paintings. The Foundation gave a gift of $18.5 million in 1998 for construction of a new museum building on campus to showcase the collection and provide more space for special exhibitions and educational programs; the new building opened in March 2001. In 2006, the Foundation gave $33 million to the Meadows School of the Arts, the largest grant ever made by the Foundation and the largest ever received by SMU at the time, which included $25 million for the museum for acquisitions, exhibitions, an educational curator position, an expanded educational program, and special initiatives of the museum director. The Museum celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015, during which The Meadows Foundation made yet another historic gift to SMU of $45 million, $25 million of which was designated to support goals and programs at the Museum. The Meadows School of the Arts and Meadows Museum mourn the passing of William B. Jordan, founding director of the Meadows Museum in 1967 and a former chair of fine art at the Meadows School.
The museum is a unique resource for local schools, colleges, the Dallas-Fort Worth community and visitors from around the world. With an active program of tours, educational outreach, weekend family days and a summer art program for young people, the Meadows Museum plays an important role as an educational and cultural center in North Texas. Throughout the year, the Meadows Museum presents an exciting series of special exhibitions, public lectures, symposia and gallery talks featuring university professors, visiting scholars and artists. The museum also hosts concerts by local and international musicians.