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Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755
603.646.2808
hood.museum@dartmouth.edu

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Annual Report 2007-2008

 

From the Director

In 2007-8 the Hood Museum of Art saw many projects planned in the previous years come to fruition. We had spent two years putting in place a variety of plans to increase our visibility, make more effective use of our collections, and reach out with our projects beyond the museum itself. The year 2007-8 was also one of evaluation, consolidation, and refinement of our plans for the future. We were able to build on our strategic cycle of planning, action, and evaluation through a project with Randi Korn and Associates which has given us a huge body of information for the future. The Hood now has greater knowledge of its audience, which will inform our practice in the future.

The evaluation process caused us to focus our future planning around two ideas: creating learning encounters, and cultivating teaching with objects. These phrases contain the essence of the museum's long-established reputation for activity based on direct engagement with works of art.

A Provostial Review was prepared for with an extensive Self-Study, and the Review itself was very positive about the museum. Our peer reviewers were most generous and gratifying in comments in regard to the staff. We will move to develop a new four-year strategic plan in fall 2008, to build on the plan of 2005-9, and on recommendations in the Provostial Review.

The cycle of exhibitions focused on the permanent collection got off to a wonderful start with Bonnie McAdam's American Art at Dartmouth, and work was completed on preparations for European Art at Dartmouth, which is scheduled for display in fall 2008. Work is also underway on the modern and contemporary show for 2009, and the Native American show for 2010. These four exhibitions and publications will transform awareness of the Hood Museum's of Art's collections. The Hood's website is developing rapidly too, and the museum has taken a lead role in the new Arts at Dartmouth website initiative (http://www.dartmouth.edu/arts/).

The museum delivered the exhibition of the work of Wenda Gu, the green house, which continued in Dartmouth College Library until October 2008. Managing the various opinions about this first major on-campus visual arts initiative since the Orozco murals (1932-34), and seeking to mediate the installation, was a wonderful challenge that was ultimately successful. We are already planning the next major project to be launched in spring 2009, once again bringing art to campus. In a similar vein, the placement of a work by Allan Houser at the Native American House, and the permanent siting of the Inuksuk in front of McNutt helped to bring works of art out into our community, thus bringing the museum to the attention of many who do not regularly visit it. The development, display, and education programs for Sean Scully: The Art of the Stripe also made for an exciting process and attracted a large audience. The major show of 2007-8 has been Black Womanhood, launched in April 2008. The exhibition and catalogue have received wide attention in the art community. Building on the terrific publicity received for Wenda Gu (New York Times, Boston Globe, Associated Press, NPR), Black Womanhood has extended our reach. Coaxing the Spirits to Dance did so too, when a smaller version of the exhibition held at the Hood Museum of Art in 2006 traveled to the Metropolitan Museum and continued on display there until December 2007.

The variety of programs at the Hood attracted a broad range of viewers. The severe weather of winter 2008, and the bold programming of Black Womanhood, may have caused some slowdown in visitation, which was not compensated for totally by the very successful attendance at the Sean Scully exhibition. Nonetheless, the Wenda Gu installation attracted thousands of additional visitors, and we have not counted these in our visitor figures for the museum. Many new techniques were implemented to encourage our audiences, including iPods and walking tour brochures designed for our shows. Those produced for the Sean Scully show proved particularly useful and popular. Public programs were also developed in association with Dartmouth's Writing 5 course for Alzheimer sufferers from Kendal Retirement Community and Dartmouth Medical School students, and they were well received.

The teaching in the classrooms continued at the high levels of recent years, bringing out from storage thousands of works so that they could be viewed by Dartmouth students, and attracting many classes and community visitation. Art acquisitions included the important portraits of the Second Earl of Dartmouth by Pompeo Batoni, and Jonathan Simpson by Joseph Blackburn. Acquisitions continued vigorously in regard to a policy schedule to address needs of the collection which had been established by the curators in 2005-6. Significant private financial support was achieved for the Batoni portrait of Lord Dartmouth, and also for the major collection of Native American Ledger drawings, acquired from Mark Lansburgh, Class of 1949, with the support of the President and the Provost of Dartmouth College. Donors also supported the museum's catalogue publication program.

The Board of the Hood Museum of Art, having been reformed on July 1, 2006, has begun to generously fund the museum. The Hood's $10 million campaign target will be reached by end 2009, with multiple donors involved. This level of support bodes well for the future of the museum. This year's Lathrop Fellows trip to Seattle was successful and enjoyed by all participants. The reform of the membership organization, a major undertaking, is progressing well, and many new members, at both lower and higher participation levels, have been attracted by the new structure.

We trust that this Annual Report ably demonstrates, under the aegis of this museum's activities, the involvement that staff, faculty, students, and alumni have had with the broader community during the year. It is a joy to direct the Hood Museum of Art and lead such a wonderful team of staff who have loyally and wonderfully embraced our strategic plan. I look forward to the coming year.

With kind regards,

Brian Kennedy
Director

"If a work of art provokes you, then learn more about it. Question it; discuss it; listen to experts speak about it. Civil discourse and engagement of challenging ideas should permeate all of our discussions and interactions at Dartmouth. I hope that you will strive to make Dartmouth a place that will embrace challenging and provocative art and ideas."--Barry Scherr, Provost, Dartmouth College, in The Dartmouth, November 7, 2007

Acknowledgments

Throughout the year, many departments and faculty at Dartmouth College and individuals, businesses, and organizations in the greater community contribute to the richness of the exhibitions and programs, their intellectual content, and their presentation, with gifts of partnerships, donations, and their valuable time. The Hood staff is thankful to all of those who worked with us in 2007-8, as always, to teach with works of art. We are pleased to acknowledge the President's office, Provost's office, Hopkins Center for the Arts, the Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Endowment, Fannie and Alan Leslie Center for the Humanities, Humanities Resource Center, Institutional Diversity and Equity (ID&E), Public Affairs, Office of Pluralism and Leadership (OPAL), Tuck School of Business, Institute for Lifelong Education at Dartmouth (ILEAD), Facilities Operations and Management (FO&M), University Press of New England, Jones Media Center, Dartmouth College Libraries, Office of Admissions, Web Publishing Services, Alumni Continuing Education, Dartmouth Medical School, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Dartmouth Alliance for Children of Color, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee at Dartmouth College, Human Resources, William Jewitt Tucker Foundation, Summer Enrichment at Dartmouth (SEAD), Diversity Peer Program, Summer Robotics Camp, Sophomore Parents Weekend, Education Program, and the following departments: Art History, Anthropology, Studio Art, Classics, Computer Science, English, African and African American Studies, Women's and Gender Studies, and Native American Studies.

Community partners included Youth Employment Summer (YES) Program, Clara Martin Center, Center for Cartoon Studies, Red Hat Society, Howe Library, The Upper Valley Haven, Kendal at Hanover, Hanover Chamber of Commerce, The Point 103.1/107.7 FM, Hanover Downtown Marketing Alliance, Spheris Gallery, Vermont Law School, The Town of Hanover and Hanover Board of Selectmen, CATV, Junction Frame Shop, Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, and the Upper Valley Music Center.

Last Updated: 10/24/08