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Museum Collecting 101

Each year, Dartmouth students in this non-curricular course select works to enter the museum’s permanent collection.

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Participants in the 2010 session of Museum Collecting 101.

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Katherine Hart, senior curator of collections and Barbara C. and Harvey P. Hood 1918 Curator of Academic Programming, leads a Museum Collecting 101 session in the Bernstein Study-Storage Center.

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Participants in the 2010 session of Museum Collecting 101.

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Participants in Museum Collecting 101.

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Participants in Museum Collecting 101 discuss potential acquisitions.

Through Museum Collecting 101, a non-curricular course offered during the winter term, Dartmouth students from all backgrounds and majors take part in an exciting and important aspect of the museum: acquisitions. For four weeks, a group of up to twelve students meets weekly with curatorial and education staff in two-hour sessions to learn about the museum’s collections and acquisitions process. Students are introduced to a selection of artists and their work, which they discuss in depth. Students choose one artist from the group whose work they think should enter the museum’s collection, consider several potential purchases, and vote to select one work. Throughout the deliberation process students weigh a range of factors, including which works of art offer the greatest potential for interdisciplinary curricular connections. Past participants have sometimes had the opportunity to travel to New York or Boston to visit art dealers and examine the works in person.

Museum Collecting 101 has been dedicated mainly to strengthening the Hood Museum of Art’s contemporary photography collection. Since the program was founded in 2002, the Hood has acquired photographs from a wide range of artists, representing various subjects. Each year, Hood staff determine a specific area of contemporary photography for students to focus on, such as Latin American photography, female photographers, digitally altered works, Asian photography, and documentary photography.

Selected Artists

Artists whose work students have selected for the museum to purchase include:

Leaving a Legacy

Museum Collecting 101 is a rich and vibrant program that has allowed undergraduate students to leave a legacy that extends far beyond their four years on campus. The names of all of the students who participate in the program are included in the credit line for the work of art they selected for purchase, and the works they have chosen are frequently used for teaching and exhibitions.

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