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Hood Museum of Art to Receive Federal Grant for the Digitization of the Museum’s Collection of Native American Art

Preston Singletary, Tlingit Crest Hat

Preston Singletary, Tlingit Crest Hat, 2006, etched blue glass. Purchased through the Claire and Richard P. Morse 1953 Fund, the William S. Rubin Fund, the Alvin and Mary Bert Gutman ’40 Acquisitions Fund, and the Charles F. Venrick 1936 Fund; 2007.12. © Preston Singletary

Hood Quarterly, winter 2014

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) recently announced nearly $30,000,000 in grants to museums across the nation. The Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, is receiving one of the 244 awards through the agency’s grant programs. It has been awarded $149,445 through the Museums for America initiative to digitize the museum’s collection of Native American art.

“IMLS recognizes three valuable roles museums have in their communities: putting the learner at the center, serving as community anchors, and serving as stewards of cultural and scientific collections,” said IMLS Director Susan Hildreth. “It is exciting to see the many ways our newly announced grants further these important museum roles. I congratulate the slate of 2013 museum grant recipients for planning projects that advance innovation in museum practice, lifelong learning, and community engagement.”

The Hood Museum of Art will undertake a three-year project to digitize the museum’s entire collection of Native American art and make images and information about the objects available for comment and discussion on a dedicated Native American Art at Dartmouth web forum. As part of the project, more than 3,500 Native American objects in the collection will be photographed. This IMLS-supported effort will make the Native American collection the first in the museum to be prioritized for digitization. “This digitization project is at the heart of our mission as a teaching museum, and it furthers Dartmouth’s commitment to educating Native American students and increasing knowledge about Native American art and culture,” said Michael Taylor, Director of the Hood Museum of Art. “We are delighted that the IMLS funding will support our mission in a way that resonates so deeply with our campus and community audiences.”

The web forum will feature a searchable database of the collection and invite members of Native communities to share information, stories, images, and videos, and to enter into discussions about objects in the collection. This feedback on the collections, combined with that of invited academic consultants, will significantly enhance the museum’s knowledge base. “This project will greatly increase the teaching value of these objects while making them better understood, documented, and appreciated by a wide audience, in particular Native American students and communities,” commented N. Bruce Duthu, Samson Occom Professor and Chair of the Native American Studies Program at Dartmouth College. “It will provide exciting and meaningful ways for Native American students to connect their life at Dartmouth with their culture and tribal identity.” The museum will also engage an educational consultant to create learning resources for Dartmouth faculty and students and K–12 teachers.

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