The purpose of the Fine Arts Collection is to develop and maintain a distinctive collection of fine art; to enhance the environment for library patrons, staff, and visitors; and to expose this audience to an aspect of the cultural life of Amherst with which they may not be familiar.
As part of its Special Collections, The Jones Library contains a collection of original artwork including oil paintings, drawings, watercolors, sculpture, antique furnishings, oriental rugs, and decorative objects.
Most of the pieces in our collection came from the thousands of items collected by Amherst businessman William A. Burnett from 1900-1926. At the time of Burnett's death in 1926, the Burnett family donated over 100 pieces of art for display and for interior decoration in the Library, thereby partially fulfilling Burnett's hope to establish a public art gallery for residents of the town.
Artwork by Ruth Payne Burgess, a cousin of the Library's benefactor Samuel Minot Jones, also forms a significant part of the collection. Other pieces have been and continue to be donated to the collection, including original children's book illustrations by local artists.