Wednesday, January 29

Fowler Museum at UCLA receives $1M donation from Jay, Deborah Last

The Fowler Museum at UCLA received a $1 million gift from longtime donors Jay and Deborah Last. The Lasts have donated to the museum since 1973 and participated in campaigning during the building's opening in 1992. (Mackenzie Possee/Daily Bruin)

The Fowler Museum at UCLA announced Wednesday that it received a $1 million donation from longtime donors Jay and Deborah Last.

The Lasts will also match up to $14 million from other donations. The donation will continue to contribute to expanding its curatorial staff and improving accessibility to its permanent collection, said Michael Ruff, the Fowler Museum’s director of development.

The museum’s permanent collection contains over 120,000 items, much of which remain in storage and are often not displayed in exhibitions, Ruff said.

Ruff said instructors in the School of Arts and Architecture, art history and world arts and cultures often assign classes to look at some items in the permanent collection. The donation, Ruff said, will allow students and faculty greater access to items in the permanent collection that are rarely in circulation.

“(The permanent collection is) all connected to their curriculum and their teaching, and we’re hoping to expand some of that,” Ruff said.

The Lasts have been donating money to the Fowler Museum since 1973 and participated in the campaign to open the museum’s building in September 1992.

In 2013, the Lasts donated a gift of around 300 pieces of art from the Lega people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The $1 million donation is the most recent in the Lasts’ 43 years of contributions to the museum.

“(The $1 million donation) was something that was not at all spontaneous,” Ruff said. “It was purposeful, and the Lasts’ presence is everywhere in this museum.”

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