In 1961, under the leadership of Delyte Morris, Southern Illinois University held a symposium to consider how a modern university campus should be created. Environmental Planning Edwardsville Campus (EPEC) brought together architects, educators, designers and planners to formulate a vision of the future of higher education. One of the concepts that was brought forth was the idea that artwork should be a part of everybody's daily experience. This concept had been promulgated by the first Minister of Cultutal Affairs in France, André Malraux. SIUE Archivist Stephen Kerber has published an article about that event entitled "From Aesthetic Integration to Applying Art: Arnold H. Marement, the EPEC seminar and the Planning of SIU Edwardsville."
Therefore, SIUE began to actively acquire artwork for the campus while the original buildings were under construction. The integration of art and artifacts into the environment is a tradition that is at the core of the history of the University Museum.