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Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755

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The Museum as Hunter and Gatherer

Press Release

Hood Museum of Art Explores the Idea of Museum as Hunter and Gatherer

To collect up to a final limit is not simply to own or to control the items one finds; it is to exercise control over existence itself through possessing every sample, every specimen, every instance of an unrepeatable and nowhere duplicated series.

—Roger Cardinal and John Elsner, The Cultures of Collecting

col·lec·ta·ne·a 1.) Passages, remarks, etc., collected from various sources; (as collect. sing.) a collection of passages, a miscellany. 2.) A selection of passages from one or more authors; an anthology.

Hanover, N.H.­A new exhibition at the Hood Museum of Art, col·lec·ta·ne·a: the museum as hunter and gatherer, illuminates the broader social history of the Hood by exploring the diverse "authors" of its collection history. The exhibition will be on view in the Hood's Gutman Gallery from May 21, 2005, through February 11, 2006, and will look at how the museum's collection has been developed and (re)defined over time. Uniting traditional with contemporary and Western with non-Western art via pottery, sculpture, utilitarian objects, textiles, photographs, and prints, col·lec·ta·ne·a explores different collecting practices and ideologies that reflect the museum's unique identity as a hunter and gatherer of material culture. Topics addressed in the exhibition include the role of private collectors in developing museum collections; the continuation of older cultural traditions in newer forms; the relation between museum collections and teaching at Dartmouth; changing perspectives of "art" versus "artifact"; the value of "hybridized" art versus "authentic" art; and the continued development of the Hood's collections in new and interesting ways.

Guided by diverse academic modes of thinking from 1772 to the present, the Dartmouth collections now comprise an impressively diverse range of nearly 65,000 objects in terms of originality, provenance, historical sweep, geographic representation, and academic importance--a direct reflection of the evolution of the College's academic perspective, curricular goals, and collecting ideologies.

Catherine Roberts, Curatorial Intern and co-curator of this exhibition, notes, "The nature of the collector's vision and its impact upon the museum's history is intriguing and significant in understanding the museum. Many of the collections at Dartmouth have been generously donated by individual collectors. Consequently, the nature of the museum's collections can be greatly influenced by a collector's choices, taste, and "vision." In the museum setting, such private collections are given new life and meaning, especially as the objects in the collection are reexamined, reinterpreted, and re-presented--no longer from a personal perspective but within diverse academic contexts, discourses, and disciplines."

Twentieth Anniversary of the Hood Museum of Art

The Hood Museum of Art marks its twentieth anniversary in 2005 with a yearlong series of exciting exhibitions and programs that examine the museum's collections from their inception to the museum's vision for their future. The year began with a critical look at how the permanent collections are interpreted and used by Dartmouth faculty and an exhibition of the museum's recent acquisitions in new media. The anniversary celebration will end with a major installation by internationally renowned American artist Fred Wilson.

Hood Museum of Art

The Hood Museum is a nonprofit organization recognized by the American Association of Museums as "a national model" for college and university museums. It is one of the oldest and largest college museums in the country, housing a diverse collection of more than 65,000 works of art and art objects with particular strengths in American painting and silver, European master paintings and prints, and African, Oceanic, Native American, and contemporary art. Admission to the museum is free and open to the public. Hours of operation are Tuesday-Saturday, 10-5 with evening hours on Wednesday until 9, and Sunday, 12-5. Admission is free. The museum galleries and the Arthur M. Loew Auditorium is wheelchair accessible. For more information, directions, or to search the collections, please visit the museum's website or call (603) 646-2808.