The Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, is now open.
Dartmouth’s collections are among the oldest and largest of any college or university in the country, but it was not until the Charles Moore–designed Hood Museum of Art opened its doors in 1985 that they were all housed under one roof and made available to faculty, students, and the public. When first accredited in 1990, the Hood was already described by the American Association of Museums (now the American Alliance of Museums) as a “national model” for college and university museums. The museum has been consistently accredited since then and subsequently labeled “as fine a museum as one can find in this country.” The Hood’s collections are drawn from a broad range of cultures and historical periods and represent a remarkable educational asset for both Dartmouth and the communities of the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire and Vermont. Among the museum’s most important holdings are six Assyrian stone reliefs from the palace of Ashurnasirpal II (about 900 BCE) and the remarkable fresco by José Clemente Orozco titled The Epic of American Civilization (1932–34), which is now a National Historic Landmark. The 65,000 objects in the museum’s care represent the diverse artistic traditions of six continents, including, broadly, Native American, European and American, Asian, Aboriginal Australian, African, and Melanesian art. The museum collects, preserves, and makes available for interpretation these works in the public trust and for the benefit of all.
The Hood is now embarked upon a physical expansion and renovation, as well as a reinvigoration of what it does and how it does it. With architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien and their team, as well as our colleagues in the Dartmouth President’s, Provost’s, and Campus Planning Offices, the Hood Museum of Art staff has immersed itself in a purpose-driven building project that renews this thirty-year-old institution on a campus that turns 250 in 2019. The museum will triple its teaching capacity from one study-storage room to three smart object-study classrooms, each designed to accommodate a particular type of experiential engagement with objects of aesthetic and cultural significance. It will expand its galleries by a third and add to its existing facility a new public concourse that will serve as a forum for the college’s arts and innovation initiatives, as well as a welcoming entry into the new museum and object-study center. The expansion also encompasses improvements to the original Charles Moore galleries, a new office suite and conference room for staff, and a renewal of the museum’s auditorium and general visitor-services accommodations.
Dartmouth President Phil Hanlon '77 remarks:
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.
Harvey P. Hood: Our Founding Benefactor
A longtime trustee of Dartmouth College and a friend and advisor to three Dartmouth presidents, Harvey P. Hood, Class of 1918, endorsed the view that an education must include exposure to the full breadth of human knowledge and experience for the fullness of human potential to be realized. As a distinguished businessman, a loyal and active alumnus, and a supporter of the arts, Harvey Hood exemplified this ideal in his own life. The generous gifts of Harvey P. Hood and his wife, Barbara C. Hood, along with gifts from the Hood family and from other friends of the arts at Dartmouth, have made this museum possible.