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Letter from the Director: Winter 2014

Hood Quarterly, winter 2014
Michael Taylor, Director

Transformative encounters with original works of art are at the very heart of the Hood’s mission as a teaching museum, and indeed the importance of visual study as part of a liberal arts education has long been a value at Dartmouth College. This winter we celebrate eighty-two years of the College’s renowned Artist-in-Residence Program with the much-anticipated exhibition In Residence: Contemporary Artists at Dartmouth. Curated in partnership with the Studio Art Department, which administers the program, the exhibition showcases the work of more than eighty artists across multiple venues, including all of the second-floor galleries in the Hood; the Barrows Rotunda, the Jaffe-Friede and Strauss Galleries, and the Top of the Hop in the Hopkins Center; and the Nearburg Gallery in the Black Family Visual Arts Center. We also invite you to an extended series of lunchtime gallery talks presented most Tuesday afternoons this winter by members of the Studio Art faculty. A complete list of dates and topics is included in this issue’s calendar of events.

In addition to the range of exhibitions and programs that the Hood organizes and promotes in the Hood Quarterly, there are always many more exciting initiatives undertaken at the museum. I thought I’d share two “behind-the-scenes” activities that make a tremendous difference in our ability to continuously expand access to the museum and its collections in support of our teaching mission. First, in the interests of digitizing the museum’s entire collection and making images available to everyone online, I am delighted to share the news that the Hood received a major grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). This prestigious government grant supports a three-year effort to digitize our collection of more than four thousand works of Native American art, build a “Native American Art at Dartmouth” Web forum, and create learning resources for Dartmouth faculty and K–12 teachers. It will make the Hood’s celebrated collection of Native American art the first at Dartmouth to be completely digitized, thus underscoring the importance of these objects to the community.

Second, while A Space for Dialogue, the Dartmouth student-curated exhibition space in the museum, greets all visitors upon entry, one aspect of student engagement that is not visible is the teaching and learning that happens in the museum’s Bernstein Study-Storage Center. This object study space makes works from the collection not on view in the galleries available for teaching. This past year, 220 visits to the study-storage center were made by faculty members, who brought 1,700 students to learn directly from original works of art displayed in an intimate space that invites close looking and deep engagement. In fact, Dartmouth students and faculty from twenty-six academic departments studied the collections: African and AfricanAmerican Studies, Anthropology, Art History, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Biology, Classical Studies, Comparative Literature, Engineering Sciences, English, Environmental Studies, Film and Media Studies, French and Italian, German, Government, History, Jewish Studies, Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies, Native American Studies, Philosophy, Religion, Spanish, Studio Art, Theater, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Writing. The smart object study rooms that are planned as part of the Museum Leaning Center in the Hood’s upcoming expansion project will allow us to meet the needs of a greater number of faculty, students, and scholars while also giving Dartmouth professors greater freedom and flexibility to integrate object-based teaching into their courses.

I look forward to sharing more news about the museum’s exhibitions, publications, programs, and teaching and learning activities with you in the next issue of the Hood Quarterly, and when you next visit the museum. See you this winter!

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