The museum received a transformative estate gift from painter, collector, and IU Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts William “Bill” Itter. The gift includes an exceptional collection of more than 500 objects such as African ceramics, textiles, and baskets. Itter and his late wife, Diane, a pioneering fiber artist whose work can be found in major museums across the United States and in Europe, began collecting in the 1970s. Attracted by the beauty of handmade ethnographic objects, the Itters were inspired to form an objects library that contributed to and reflected their studio and teaching disciplines.
The museum's internationally recognized sub-Saharan African art collection is considered outstanding, and Itter's gift greatly enhances these holdings.
The gift also established the William and Diane Itter Museum of Art Conservation and Research Endowment, which will provide ongoing support for an objects conservator or further research into the museum's collections. A new object viewing room, which will offer students opportunities for engaging directly with art, was also named in honor of Bill and Diane.