Wesleyan students in many departments use the Davison Art Center collection for class assignments or viewings as well as for individual research projects with University faculty. The DAC also encourages teaching and learning from objects in a wide range of other ways.
Students in Wesleyan classes can learn directly from closely mentored first-hand study of original objects, and some of these students organize gallery exhibitions drawn from the DAC collection. This program of hands-on research and curatorial experience offers Wesleyan undergraduates opportunities found at few other institutions. By working closely and at length with the collection, students gain competence in locating, handling, and learning from original objects in museums. Wesleyan students also can gain practical experience with professional museum operations as DAC interns.
Alongside its primary mission of serving undergraduate pedagogy by means of its permanent collection, the DAC supports learning in other ways. The museum occasionally shows touring exhibitions related to other Wesleyan programs. In addition to DAC programs serving the Wesleyan community, docents from the Friends of the DAC give tours to school groups. Beyond its Wesleyan and Connecticut constituencies, the Davison Art Center serves the international community of print scholars. Researchers from U.S. and European institutions come to study objects in the collection and to use the museum's Print Reference Library.