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Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755

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A Space for Dialogue

Hood Museum intern Xinyue Guo ’14 gives a talk in her A Space for Dialogue installation.

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Hood Museum intern Jessica Womack ’14 gives a talk in her A Space for Dialogue installation.

Since 2001, the Hood Museum of Art has given the walls in its entrance lobby to its senior student interns for mini-exhibitions drawn from the museum's collections. A Space for Dialogue is a unique aspect of the museum’s senior internship program, which includes positions in curatorial, programming, and public relations. Interns have the opportunity to choose objects from the Hood's collection, research the objects, write descriptive labels and a brochure, work with staff to design the installation, and give a public gallery talk.

There have been more than eighty-five of these student-generated exhibitions since they were first inaugurated in 2001. The subjects of the A Space for Dialogue exhibitions have ranged as far and wide as the interns' imaginations and the scope of the Hood's rich and extensive collections. Examples include Picturing Family in the "South": Legacies of the American Civil War, by Sophia Hutson '06; The Quest for Printed Tone: The Origins of Mezzotint in the Seventeenth Century, by Alex Vespoli '09; RIOT: Feminist Protest Art, by Julissa Llosa ’10; Art in Motion: A Deeper Look at the Animated Figure and Its Presence in Contemporary Works, by Kayla Gilbert '12; and Modern Melancholy, by Jane Cavalier '14. These exhibitions have reflected the intellectual curiosity and critical thinking of an amazing group of Dartmouth students.

The interns are mentored by professional staff of the museum in their selection of works. We ask each student to conceive of a thoughtful grouping of objects. The students are encouraged to perform independent research for the exhibition, develop their own interpretive strategies for the objects they have chosen, and express their ideas in their own voices. In this way, they gain invaluable insights into curatorial practice while the public gains access to objects and ideas that would not otherwise appear in the museum. The program continues to be one of the most successful ventures the museum has undertaken in relation to undergraduate education and our internship program.

Visitors from other museums have applauded the initiative that the Hood has shown with this project, and these installations have established themselves as a valued contribution of the museum. This would not have been possible without outside funding for A Space for Dialogue. Beginning in 2002, yearly funding from the Class of 1948 enabled A Space for Dialogue to thrive and allowed the museum to offer students the opportunity to produce an illustrated color brochure as well as plan a new design for the space with each installation. The Hood Museum of Art is extremely grateful to the Class of 1948 for making this wonderful program possible and indebted to them for their commitment to support the museum’s role in enhancing the lives of students who plan future careers in the arts or a related field.

Over time, new patrons for this well-received exhibition series emerged. With the support of Hood Board of Overseers members Hugh Freund and David Lowenstein, and class president Sam Ostrow, the Class of 1967 signed on to be A Space for Dialogue’s next sponsor, along with Bonnie and Rick Reiss, Class of 1966, and Pamela J. Joyner, Class of 1979. Individual members of the Class of 1948, who have been very committed to this project, also continue to support it.

Last Updated: 4/2/15