The Smart Museum of Art.

COURTESY SMART MUSEUM OF ART

The University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art has received a $5 million gift from the Feitler family. One of the largest gifts in its history, the funds will go toward the creation of the Feitler Center for Academic Inquiry, which will focus on what the museum called “object-driven inquiry” in multiple disciplines, including art history and the physical sciences.

Issa Lampe will be the center’s first director. She comes from the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut, where she was senior associate curator for academic affairs, and begins in her new role today.

Alison Gass, the director of the Smart Museum, said in a statement, “The arts play a distinct role in fulfilling the University of Chicago’s commitment to open discourse and rigorous inquiry as informed by a diversity of ideas, identities, and experiences. The new Feitler Center will serve as a place for thinkers to come together to advance new understandings through an exchange of diverse perspectives and ideas via the lens of art objects and artistic practices.”