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Why Expand?

Demand to study, teach from, and view the museum’s collection has surpassed the capacity of our current facilities.

Three new smart object-study rooms in the museum’s new Center for Object-Based Inquiry (COBI) will create unparalleled opportunities for study and research in a museum setting, addressing the increased curricular demand for direct engagement with original

Three new smart object-study rooms in the museum’s new Center for Object-Based Inquiry (COBI) will create unparalleled opportunities for study and research in a museum setting, addressing the increased curricular demand for direct engagement with original works. Rendering by MARCH.

Envisioning the museum’s new lobby area. Rendering by MARCH.

Envisioning the museum’s new lobby area. Rendering by MARCH.

Dartmouth Professor of Art History, Joy Kenseth in Lathrop Gallery with her Art History II class. Photo by Alison Palizzolo.

Dartmouth Professor of Art History, Joy Kenseth in Lathrop Gallery with her Art History II class. Photo by Alison Palizzolo.

The Hood Museum of Art is one of the world’s most dynamic teaching museums, widely celebrated for the seamless integration of its collections into the Dartmouth educational experience. Opened in 1985 and dedicated to helping students “construct meaning from what we see,” the Hood encourages students to explore cultures and the human condition through art.

The museum exemplifies Dartmouth’s emphasis on experiential learning, giving students access to its 65,000-object collection and providing opportunities for undergraduates and graduate students to participate in the Hood’s operations, such as by curating exhibitions and acquiring works. The museum's study-storage room hosts more than 2,000 student visits each year, and classes from disciplines as diverse as anthropology, biology, and engineering engage with its collections regularly.

In addition, the Hood offers more than 100 special programs, exhibitions, lectures, and gallery talks throughout the year—most of these events open to the public.

All of this activity has stretched the Hood’s ability to meet its mission. Demand from students and faculty for access to the museum’s galleries and its one object-study room outstrips availability.

To ensure the museum can meet the needs of students, faculty, and the community, Dartmouth must renew and expand the Hood. Dartmouth is undertaking a $50 million expansion and renovation that will increase the museum’s floor size by 50 percent and triple student classroom visits to more than 6,000 a year.

Elements of the proposed Hood expansion include:

  • The addition of three technology-enhanced, object-study classrooms within a state-of-the-art object-study center, tripling curricular access for faculty and students from 40 departments and interdisciplinary programs and all four schools (Arts & Sciences, Geisel School of Medicine, Thayer School of Engineering, and Tuck School of Business)
  • The introduction of five new galleries, allowing the Hood to display portions of its collections that are not shown on a regular basis, including Aboriginal Australian art, Native American art, and signature modern works by artists such as Ed Ruscha, Mark Rothko, and Lorna Simpson
  • The construction of a dramatic new entrance, visible from the Green, that will serve as a crossroads where students congregate and collaborate, and also provide an inviting space for special functions, available to the entire Dartmouth community

Investment in the Hood Museum of Art will help provide Dartmouth students and faculty with rewarding opportunities to incorporate original works of art into their teaching and learning. The new social spaces will spur creative interactions that strengthen and enliven the entire Dartmouth community.

Most important, this renovation and expansion will ensure that the museum fulfills its mission to create a learning environment that fosters transformative educational encounters with art for everyone—and puts learning through engagement with art front and center as never before.

Campus-Wide Impact

This proposed expansion and rejuvenation of the Hood is part of a planned major investment in Dartmouth’s Arts & Innovation District, which includes the Hopkins Center for the Arts; the Black Family Visual Arts Center, which
opened in 2012; and the DEN Innovation Center and New Venture Incubator, dedicated in 2014. The district is an increasingly vibrant catalyst for creativity—a laboratory for visual arts, music, dance, written expression, entrepreneurial ventures, and new approaches to learning. While creativity exists across the Dartmouth campus and in every discipline, this is ground zero for imaginative, innovative thinking.

For these reasons, the district will increasingly draw students from all disciplines, gathering them in spaces, both formal and informal, where they can easily exchange ideas and observations.

"Dartmouth provides the best undergraduate learning experience in the world. It's the most important thing we do, and building on that strength is my highest goal. The Hood Museum of Art is a model of what a teaching museum can do, and we are committed to expanding its capacity to transform student lives through challenging and intellectually engaging experiences."

--President Phil Hanlon '77

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