The art collection originated in the early part of the 20th century, with the first gallery opening in 1934. The Hearst Art Gallery was built in 1977 with a grant from the Hearst Foundation. The newly expanded Saint Mary's College Museum of Art (formerly the Hearst Art Gallery) was completed in October of 2011. The Museum serves both the Saint Mary's College community and the public.
The Hearst Art Gallery was built with the aid of a grant from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. The Gallery opened in 1977, replacing a smaller William Keith Gallery. The College previously collected and distributed art for several decades, including many works by William Keith (1838-1911), a key figure in the history of California art. Brother Fidelis Cornelius Braeg, Saint Mary's College art professor and Keith biographer, established the original William Keith Collection and Gallery at Saint Mary's in 1934.
Exhibitions and events are enhanced by a wonderful group of volunteers who assist with all aspects of museum operations and members whose generous support makes many programs and publications possible.