Joe and Betty Weider at the 2011 Opening Ceremony of the Joe and Betty Weider Museum of Physical Culture
|Opening Ceremony||Opening exhibit: Muscle and Grace||History of the Weider Museum|
The Weider Gift
The Joe and Betty Weider Museum of Physical Culture is, in large part, the result of the Weider’s commitment to bodybuilding and other aspects of the “Iron Game” as well as to the financial support which made the completion of the museum possible. Through the Joe Weider Foundation, they have donated $2 million in support of this facility. In 2004, the Weiders established a $1 million endowment to be used to assist with the expenses involved in operating what was then known as the Todd-McLean Collection. In 2008, they committed another million dollars for the development of the Weider Museum. In addition, the Weiders have donated over 20 important pieces of art and other memorabilia from their personal collection, including three large oil paintings by the noted artist Thomas Beecham of Mr. Olympia winners Larry Scott, Franco Columbu, and Lee Haney; a portrait of Betty Weider; a painting of Joe Weider as imagined by Boris Vallejo; and a gym scene done by Lorenzo Ghiglieri in 1989 and based on a famous print made over a hundred years ago of the Hercules Club in Vienna. In addition to these exceptional paintings, the Weiders also sent a bronze sculpture from Germany of a kettlebell lifter. And, in May of 2011, the Weiders donated a beautiful bronze bust of Betty Weider by sculptor Frederick Russell. These pieces are currently on display, and many other significant artworks and memorabilia from the Weiders will be on display in the future. What’s more, Eric Weider—Joe Weider’s nephew and the CEO of Weider Enterprises—has donated to the Weider Museum several exceptional artifacts once owned by his late father Ben Weider, who was President of the International Federation of Bodybuilders for over 50 years.
We are deeply grateful to all the Weiders for their generosity and their support of our efforts to establish a first class research and learning center dedicated to preserving the history of physical culture and the stories of the men and women who changed North America and the world. When Joe and Ben Weider came on the scene in 1940 progressive resistance exercise was frowned upon and existed primarily in the closeted gyms of the past. Over sixty years later, when the Weider brothers passed the torch, a complete paradigm reversal had occurred and resistance exercise had become universal in fitness centers, athletic training facilities, and sport science labs.
–Jan and Terry Todd
How You Can Help
In order for the Betty and Joe Weider Museum to maintain its joint missions of preserving and disseminating information about the history, physiological importance, and cultural impact of bodybuilding, weight training, and other forms of strength and conditioning, the Museum will require on-going financial support. This support will make it possible for materials to be properly conserved, new exhibitions of photography and/or artifacts to be mounted in the galleries, and a curator to be hired who can work on the artifacts and exhibitions related to the Weider Museum.
Please consider making a donation to the Weider Museum as part of your charitable giving program. Your donation will help ensure that scholars and iron game fans in the future will never forget the profound cultural change that occurred over the last half of the twentieth century, during which athletes went from being forbidden by their coaches and physicians to lift weight to being required to lift them. Also, if you have items in your personal collection that might be suitable for either the Weider Museum or the Stark Center Research Library, please consider donating.
All donations are considered gifts to the University of Texas at Austin, a non-profit, tax-exempt entity. Financial gifts at a certain level may also qualify the donor for the naming rights to certain spaces within the Center.