Most museum directorships at major institutions today are named, providing an enduring reference to the patron and ensuring professional continuity in that role. The Hood Museum of Art has a distinguished tradition of museum directors, including Jan van der Marck, Jacquelynn Baas, James Cuno, Timothy Rub, and Derrick Cartwright.
Like the Director's position, a museum's curatorial posts today represent naming opportunities for patrons who have deep interest in a particular culture area. At the Hood, the following curatorial posts are available for naming: Curator of European Art; Curator of African, Oceanic, and Native American Collections. The curatorships of American Art, Academic Programming, and Education have been named.
This new, two- to three-year rotating position would help alleviate the administrative burden under which the Hood's professional staff currently operates as well as provide training for a promising young professional in the museum field. The post would also enable the Hood curators to take brief (three- to six-month) "research sabbaticals" to pursue new projects without penalizing the rest of the museum staff or neglecting their collection areas. This practice would bring the museum into parity with peers at Harvard, RISD, and other campus-based museums of the first tier. Preference could be given to applicants with Dartmouth degrees, and the fellowship also represents an appealing naming opportunity for this reason.
The Hood is heavily reliant upon outside funding for all of its major exhibition programs, including the substantial costs associated with mounting the traveling exhibitions that have distinguished the museum's practice for the past twenty years. This new funding would be used to alleviate the recurring fundraising burden that is required of the Director in order to mount exhibitions and other public projects of regional, national, or international significance. Temporary positions, such as designers, editors, and educators, might also be paid out of these resources. Funds would be grouped in named, purpose-specific endowments, and patrons recognized whenever income is utilized from these funds.
The Hood has a fully computerized, searchable database with over 3,500 digitized images. The museum is very proud of this resource. The college pays for software and maintenance of computerized programs, but extensive additional information technology development would be relieved by an endowment set up for this area. Such funding would guarantee that Dartmouth's museum remains on the cutting edge of collections management through the professionalization of the Hood Museum of Art's electronic database management and other computerized resources. New initiatives, such as the AAM's suggested registry of Nazi-Era Provenance research, exploitation of the College's wireless capacity, and further Web site development can only be met through the strengthening of funding to support this area.
The Hood's publications have won awards, especially the museum's Quarterly and the exhibition catalogues. Other publications are, however, out-of-date, including collection brochures, introductory books about specific collections, and the Treasures of the Hood. Complete catalogues on specific collections are also required. Naming opportunities exist for the entire suite of Hood publications or for individual publications, such as the Quarterly.
The museum seeks to acquire objects of greater art historical and aesthetic significance and has recently devised a strategic plan for acquisitions to help accomplish this goal. Current endowment income is insufficient to make individual purchases of a world-class caliber on a regular basis, and additional resources are being sought for this reason. Additionally, conservation of works of art already in the permanent collection represents a high priority for the curatorial staff. Purpose-specific endowments are sought for general acquisitions but also for areas of specific interest to patrons and professional staff. Certain areas, in particular African, Oceanic, Native American, and contemporary art, have not received adequate acquisition funds to date.
Specific funds are sought for the conservation of artwork in areas of interest to patrons and professional staff. The Hood's collections are large and many objects were accessioned over a long history. The opportunity to bring objects to presentable display condition is a journey of discovery and revelation for the interested patron.
The Hood has achieved its target of funding for three nine-month positions, offering wonderful educational and development experiences for Dartmouth senior students.
The Charles H. Hood Foundation gave a challenge grant to the Hood Museum of Art in support of educational projects for children from grades K through 12, and college students to age twenty-three. This vital opportunity, if taken, will expand the Hood's outreach into the local and regional community and the Dartmouth student community.
The Hood Museum of Art has a tradition of offering opportunities to members of the Dartmouth faculty to include objects in the museum collections in curriculum programming. The Mellon Foundation has been of special assistance in the past, but now a dedicated endowment is sought to underpin this essential link between the Hood and the college faculty it serves.
The Hood has developed a range of programs to support the undergraduate experience, including the Space for Dialogue exhibition and its associated publication opportunity for interns at the Hood; involvement with acquisitions, seminars, conferences, and researching catalogue entries; and assisting the preparation of exhibitions. These unparalleled opportunities for the undergraduate experience of a museum would be guaranteed in the future by endowed funding from an interested patron.
The Director requires flexible funding in order to accomplish a variety of short-term educational projects. The most important of these projects relate to the professional development of staff, the more complete integration of Dartmouth students, and a new initiative to encourage more faculty research at the museum. Purpose-specific endowments for museum internships, non-curricular programs, student life-driven initiatives, and special exhibition/research projects would guarantee that currently experimental measures become mainstays of Hood practice in the future.