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Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755

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The Museum

A longtime trustee of Dartmouth College and a friend and advisor to three Dartmouth presidents, Harvey P. Hood, Class of 1918, endorsed the view that an education must include exposure to the full breadth of human knowledge and experience for the fullness of human potential to be realized. As a distinguished businessman, a loyal and active alumnus, and a supporter of the arts, Harvey Hood exemplified this ideal in his own life. The generous gifts of Harvey P. Hood and his wife, Barbara C. Hood, along with gifts from the Hood family and from other friends of the arts at Dartmouth, have made this museum possible.

Statement of Purpose

The Hood Museum of Art is a teaching museum. Our mission is to create an ideal learning environment that fosters transformative encounters with works of art.

History and Architecture

The Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College is one of the oldest and largest college museums in the country. The award-winning building designed by Charles Moore and Chad Floyd of Centerbrook Architects was completed in 1985, yet the museum's collections stretch back to 1772, three years after Dartmouth College was founded.

The study of art has long been an integral component of the curriculum at Dartmouth College, originally founded in 1769 in Hanover, New Hampshire. Over the years the College received a variety of objects as gifts from its alumni. Paintings, works on paper, and antiquities were stored and displayed in various buildings located throughout the campus. By 1976, Peter Smith, then director of the Hopkins Center for the Arts, outlined the need for a new facility "devoted to the exhibition and contemplation of works of art . . . to teach students the kind of connoisseurship and visual discrimination which can make the crucial difference for artist and art historian alike, as well as for the future patron, collector, critic, trustee or curator." The funding to meet this goal was assured in 1978 when the college received a large bequest from Harvey P. Hood, Dartmouth class of 1918 and a trustee from 1941 to 1967. The donation was supplemented by additional gifts from members of the Hood family and other generous benefactors. On September 28, 1985, the Hood Museum of Art opened its doors to the public. For the first time, students, faculty, and other visitors could view objects from the college's permanent collection and temporary loan exhibitions in a single, state-of-the-art structure. Today, more than 40,000 people visit the Hood each year.

The 40,000-square-foot postmodern building includes ten main galleries, study storage, and administrative spaces, as well as the 204-seat Hood Museum of Art Auditorium, which is equipped for lectures and film. The museum occupies the land between the barrel-vaulted modernist Hopkins Center for the Arts and the 1885 romanesque revival Wilson Hall. The Hood building establishes its presence on the famous Dartmouth Green by means of a gateway, framed behind three layers of monumental columns. The main entrance is enveloped within the museum's open Bedford Courtyard. The building is constructed of Flemish bond brick with a gray brick cornice and copper roof. The crowning jewel of the museum building is a 3,300-pound copper cupola that rests at the top of the entry pavilion. The museum building is the recipient of three major architectural awards: the American Institute of Architects New England Design Award (1986); the American Institute of Architects Honor Award for Architecture (1987); and the Brick in Architecture Award (1989).

"A dignified little museum that fits splendidly into this New England college town . . . Yet it still exerts a very strong personality of its own."--Ellen Poser, Wall Street Journal (November 1, 1985)

"The building alludes both to the Georgian architecture of American--and Dartmouth--tradition, and to the modern architecture of the Hopkins Center beside it, and its casual, rather rambling shape pulls the clashing buildings on either side of it into a new and quite remarkable coherence. It is really quite brilliantly sited; one of a few cases anywhere of a large building shoehorned into an awkward space between two other large buildings, and fitting quite naturally."--Paul Goldberger, New York Times (October 20, 1985)

Last Updated: 8/12/13