Things To Do

Nasher Museum of Art

The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University presents two spring exhibitions of modern and contemporary art that originated at Duke. “Light Sensitive: Photographic Works from North Carolina Collections” opens February 14, featuring more than 100 works drawn from leading North Carolina collections, both public and private, assembled through the dedication and vision unique to each individual collector. From tiny early daguerreotypes to large-scale contemporary color prints, the exhibition includes works by Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, Emmet Gowin, Sally Mann, Vik Muniz, Laurie Simmons, Burk Uzzle and many others. “Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey,” opening March 21, is the artist’s first major solo museum exhibition, her most comprehensive and experimental show yet. “Wangechi Mutu” features 50 works from 1995 to the present, including collage, drawing, installation, sculpture and video. The exhibition includes many of Mutu’s most iconic collages, including new commissions and rarely loaned early works drawn from major international collections. “Wangechi Mutu” also will transform the entire gallery into a site-specific, environmental installation that allows visitors to immerse themselves in Mutu’s work, evoking an enchanted forest.


The Nasher Museum, designed by renowned architect Rafael Viñoly, focuses on modern and contemporary art. The permanent collection includes selections of medieval art and also African, ancient American and contemporary art. Also on view are 60 works of art from the ancient Mediterranean world ranging in date from about 2800 BCE to 300 CE, part of a major anonymous gift. The Nasher Museum opened in 2005, creating a new center for the arts on campus. The 65,000-square-foot museum houses three large gallery spaces, a lecture hall, university and community classrooms, a café and store. The museum offers a dynamic schedule of events, including parties that draw hundreds of Duke students, performing arts and music programs, Family Days, film and lecture series, symposia and panel discussions, meet-the-artist events and guided tours. Nasher Museum Café director Giorgios Bakatsias features seasonal cooking with locally grown and organic foods. The Nasher Museum Store offers a selection of books, posters and gifts related to art and exhibitions. This weekend, the museum is open on Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.  The Nasher Museum is located at 2001 Campus Drive at Anderson Street, adjacent to the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. For more information please call (919) 684-5135 or nasher.duke.edu.

Demonstration Organ Recital

aeolianOn Saturday, May 11, at 8:30 p.m., University Organist Robert Parkins and Associate University Organist David Arcus will present a demonstration recital featuring the three principal organs in Duke Chapel.  The post-Romantic Aeolian (1932), Duke Chapel’s original instrument, is located in the chancel area.  Recently designated the Kathleen Byrns McClendon organ, it was completely restored by Foley-Baker this year.  The Benjamin N. Duke organ, completed by Flentrop (1976) according to 18th-century classical principles, is positioned at the opposite end of the nave.  In the Memorial Chapel is the newest organ, designed to play pre-18th-century music and completed by John Brombaugh in 1997.

Hoof 'n' Horn

The 2013 Commencement production by Hoof 'n' Horn, the South's oldest student-run musical theatre group, will be Spring Awakening by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater.  Spring Awakening is based on a play about teenagers coming of age in oppresive 19th century Germany, set to a folk-infused rock score.  During the Commencement Weekend, there are three performances:  Friday, May 10 at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, May 11, at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. in Reynolds Industries Theater.  Further information about the show is available online at www.hoofnhorn.org and tickets can be purchased at tickets.duke.edu.

Duke Gardens

The Sarah P. Duke Gardens is recognized as one of the premiere public gardens in the United States, renowned both for its landscape design and quality of horticulture.  It comprises 55 acres of landscaped and woodland gardens immediately adjacent to Duke University Medical Center.  Some of its five miles of allées and pathways are accessible to people with physical challenges. Admission is free, and each year it attracts more than 300,000 visitors from all over the world.

GardensThe formal Terrace Gardens and the iconic Pergola constitute the historical core of Duke Gardens.  This area also includes a cafe, a waterfall and koi pool, a rose garden and a serene, wooded two-acre Memorial Garden.  At the center of the Mary Duke Biddle Rose Garden near the Gardens' main entrance is the century-old Roney Fountain, which was recently restored and relocated from East Campus. 

The 20-acre Culberson Asiatic Arboretum is devoted to illustrating with living examples the close relationships of the flora of Asia and eastern North America.  It is embellished with stone lanterns, beautiful bridges, charming garden benches, a Japanese Tea House and pavilion, and a secluded meditation shelter. It also has a large pond that is home to an eclectic group of waterfowl, as well as turtles and fish. 

The Blomquist Garden of Native Plants, which displays Southern wildflowers in a dramatic pine woodland, will be at peak performance during Commencement Weekend. The Blomquist also has a bird-viewing shelter, a small pond and a Wildlife Garden with bridges and a waterfall. 

The Doris Duke Center is surrounded by a number of specialty gardens, including the Page-Rollins White Garden and the new Charlotte Brody Discovery Garden, an award-winning organic food garden that demonstrates sustainable practices. The Doris Duke Center provides a complete array of services and information for visitors, space for educational programs for adults and children, administrative offices, a horticultural library, an elegant events hall, and a gift shop.  The Doris Duke Center is open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and from noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.  Parking fees apply from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.   The main gardens are open daily from 8:00 a.m. until dusk.

The Duke Lemur Centerlemur

The Duke Lemur Center was established in 1966 and today is the world’s largest sanctuary for rare and endangered prosimian primates.   Nestled on 85 acres in Duke Forest, the Lemur Center houses about 250 animals, including 233 lemurs encompassing 20 species, along with lorises from India and Southeast Asia and bushbabies from Africa.

ringtailsThe Mission of the Duke Lemur Center is to promote research and understanding of prosimians and their natural habitat as a means of advancing the frontiers of knowledge, to contribute to the educational development of future leaders in international scholarship and conservation and to enhance the human condition by stimulating intellectual growth and sustaining global biodiversity.

Tours are conducted daily seven days a week by appointment only.  Please call (919) 401-7240 to schedule your tour!