2021–22 Annual Report: External Relations / Operations

Nov 14, 2022

The Hood Museum's 2022–26 strategic plan, which came together through a staff-wide collaboration in 2021, and 2021 DEAI (Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion) action steps informed everything we did in the museum areas of external relations and operations in FY22. Examples abound: we carefully calibrated our publication print runs to meet but not exceed demand, for environmental and budgetary reasons, and made content available to all for free online whenever possible. We developed museum platforms—such as our blog and social media—and drew on both museum staff and our collaborators and stakeholders to foreground new insights, histories, and voices. We shared our practices and our people with unprecedented candor and evident pleasure. In short, we diversified what we said and where we said it in the interests of starting fresh conversations and ensuring the accessibility of Dartmouth's museum and collection. The details of these initiatives will follow below, but it also bears mentioning that museum communicators were delighted to welcome the contributions of outside PR consultant Meg Blackburn of Blackburn Creative starting in May 2022. We look forward to both her active promotion of the museum's exhibitions, programs, and staff to the media and her penetrating insight and advice regarding our public relations efforts.


FY22 saw demand for Hood Museum publications return along with demand for access to the galleries.  We started fall 2021 by moving from preparation through design and production for a March 2022 delivery of the beautiful eighty-eight-page exhibition catalogue In the Moment: Recent Work by Louise Hamlin, which featured new perspectives on this longtime Dartmouth studio art professor's accomplished career, along with thirty-five full-page color plates and an interview with the artist herself. The brochures titled Assyrian Reliefs at the Hood Museum of Art and Public Art at Dartmouth: A Walking Tour of the Hood Museum of Art's Campus Sculpture Collection, supplies of which had dwindled since our reopening year of 2019, needed to be updated and reprinted. The museum also restarted the regular publication of its flagship Hood Quarterly magazine with timely issues chronicling the museum's efforts to welcome visitors back into our galleries for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic (the fall 2021 issue), to open brand new exhibitions that had been on hold for years during the pandemic, including This Land: American Engagement with the Natural World (the winter 2022 issue), to articulate institutional initiatives such as the 2022–26 strategic plan (the spring 2022 issue), and to dream about the Hood Museum's debut of the upcoming traveling exhibition Madayin: Eight Decades of Aboriginal Australian Bark Painting, on view September 3–December 4, 2022, by delving into the museum's deep history with Indigenous Australian art (the summer 2022 issue). The publications team also worked on brochures for A Space for Dialogue exhibitions 104–109 and the coin case installation in the Kim Gallery titled Money Talks: Currency and Coinage in Global, Historical Contexts. Finally, work began on the even more ambitious 2023 and 2024 slate of exhibition-related publications.

Audience-facing digital tools and content

Structural changes to the external relations team preface this particular aspect of the museum's content-related strategies and initiatives. In August of 2021, the position of digital content manager, currently held by Alison Palizzolo, was moved from the Digital Platforms, Media, and Archives area of the museum to the External Relations and Operations area. The position now reports to the Nils Nadeau, associate director, external relations and operations, and supervises Anna Kaye Schulte, public relations assistant. This organizational shift followed the museum's reopening to the public after the COVID-19 pandemic, as the digital content manager position, created at the start of the pandemic closure to buttress the museum's ramped-up virtual engagement with its audiences, transitioned to external relations to provide more support to content strategy and messaging across both virtual and physical modes of engagement. This change also aligns the organization with many of the museum's peer institutions, where the position of digital content manager resides within the realm of communications.

Work continued in FY22 toward the July 2022 release of an extensive Matterport 3D virtual tour of the exhibition This Land: American Engagement with the Natural World, which had been visited 810 times by at least 585 unique users as of late summer. Originally, the primary purpose of the 3D virtual tours was to give people access to exhibitions they were not able to physically visit, and the tool clearly still enables visitors from all over the world to enjoy the Hood Museum galleries. Since our postpandemic reopening, however, the goal has shifted toward the enhancement of our teaching, particularly in terms of providing further supplementary exhibition-related content. Going forward, the tours will encompass content that is not available in the galleries, with the hope that they will complement an in-person visit. During FY23, the museum plans to release a 3D virtual tour of the exhibitions Madayin: Eight Decades of Aboriginal Australian Bark Painting from Yirrkala and Park Dae Sung: Ink Reimagined, as well as a Spanish-language version of the Orozco mural tour. The criteria for exhibitions that receive this treatment is more rigorous now that the museum's doors are open again. We look forward to continuing to employ and interpret this tool according to our mission and strategic plan.

The museum has also started to utilize an international image interoperability framework (IIIF) program called Storiiies, developed by the UK-based digital agency Cogapp, to digitize its close-looking experiences. In the fall of 2021, the museum published its first Digital Closer Look, which featured Thornton Dial's Heaven and Hell on Earth (1995). There is a second Digital Closer Look scheduled to be published this fall, focusing on a work in Madayin. Cogapp has made this tool available for free, greatly helping the museum to continue to create these resources for its audiences and to enhance their visits. Click here to read an interview between Andy Cummins, Cogapp's director of product development, and the Meredith Steinfels, Hood Museum of Art's assistant director of Digital Platforms, Media, and Archives, on the Hood Museum's blog Meanwhile at the Museum.

Since its launch, the museum's blog Meanwhile at the Museum has grown its audience. In FY22, the museum prepared and published 11 individual posts, and 1,389 users visited 2,504 pages over 1,880 sessions. To put those numbers in perspective, the user rate is up 460 percent, pageviews are up 308 percent, and sessions have increased by 385 percent. Nichelle Gaumont's especially popular May 2022 post, "Celebrating the Princess of Polka Dots: Yayoi Kusama," which was written in honor of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, was read by at least 573 users. To further exemplify the growth of the blog, in May 2021 there were a total of 156 visitor sessions, and in May 2022 there were 688 sessions.

External relations staff continue to evaluate the website, and in FY22 we decided to expand our exhibitions section to include current, past, and upcoming shows, so as to help us promote exhibitions much earlier on our website. We also continue to improve the website's exhibition and news archives by adding missing images and fixing image crops and broken links. In FY22, the website was visited by 121,145 unique users over 166,581 sessions (which lasted, on average, 2 minutes, 3 seconds). During these sessions, the site received 454,555 pageviews.

Another digital initiative receiving fresh attention from staff is the monthly Hood Happenings email to the Friends of the Hood group and other dedicated museum supporters. The external relations team is working diligently to increase the number of email recipients on the Hood Happenings list by experimenting with the structure and subject line of the emails to encourage more engagement with and anticipation of these communications. This evaluation work, conducted in consultation with our PR consultant, Meg Blackburn, is still in process and will be elaborated upon in next year's annual report.

Social media

A major goal of our social media work in FY22 was to bolster engagement on Instagram, an increasingly popular social media channel, especially among our student audience. Social Media Assistants Emil Liden '25 and Ana Torres Rodriguez '24 greatly contributed to these efforts, by focusing on follower acquisition and the creation of more Instagram story content. The follower acquisition strategy emphasized Dartmouth first years ('25s) in the fall and newly admitted students ('26s) in the spring. Instagram story content ranged from upcoming event highlights to interactive Tuesday Trivia segments and even an emoji challenge campaign (inspired by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) that asked users to send us emojis that represent collection objects. In large part because of these efforts, Instagram saw the highest increase in the Hood Museum's social media metrics in FY22, with 21 percent growth in audience (surpassing 5,200 followers), 81.6 percent growth in published posts (including Instagram stories), and a 33.9 percent increase in engagements.

In all, compared to FY21, the museum's Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter platforms all saw exciting results, with net audience growth increasing 50 percent, published posts increasing 23 percent, and impressions and engagements increasing 26 and 18 percent, respectively.

One mention in particular stands out: the Hood Museum was featured in a "Dartmouth Through My Eyes" illustration and story by Caroline '21 via the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. The voiceover goes: "One of the things that I love most about Dartmouth is how it feels like this place is really many places all at once. There's state of the art labs that are alongside old-collegiate feeling libraries, art studios & music halls, even an organic farm. A world class art museum that feels like you're in a major city, and views of the Connecticut River that feel like you're miles from the hustle and bustle."

Public relations

Following an academic year of campus-only engagement, on August 4, 2021, the museum reopened its doors to the public to great fanfare. The hype was encouraged by targeted media advertising in local outlets, such as the Valley News, Eagle Times, Rutland Herald, and Times Argus, as well as the campus newspaper, The Dartmouth. One local reporter wrote: "the museum's reopening . . . is one of the most heartening events of the late pandemic." To work our way back to our prepandemic visitorship, the public relations team also ramped up regional advertising in publications like Art New England, Artscope, and the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine. Acknowledging ongoing changes in art museum PR and marketing, the Hood Museum also started dabbling in digital advertising on various web platforms and through email marketing.  

Whether it was past Hood Museum acquisitions getting overdue airtime or new acquisition announcements, the press remained very interested in the museum's timely and strategy-driven additions to its collection. Back in 2016, the Hood Museum acquired Wind Dancing with Spring Flowers by painter Alma Thomas, which was on loan in FY22 to the traveling exhibition Alma Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful. Out of 150 objects featured in this exhibition, the Hood Museum's work was chosen as a lead PR image for media advertisement and reviews by media outlets such as Smithsonian Magazine, Artnews, Washington Post, Artnet, Wall Street Journal, and Forbes, and it was the cover image of the fall 2021 print issue of Humanities. It was thrilling to see our painting making an impact across the country and sharing the Hood Museum's mission and vision right along with it. The John Kobal Foundation Collection acquisition from 2021 was still receiving press coverage in FY22 in the Art Newspaper, Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, and The Dartmouth newspaper. On September 8, 2021, the museum announced a major acquisition of ten works of art from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, which will dramatically expand the story of American art we can tell by including several African American artists from the southern United States. Stories about this acquisition appeared in Culture Type, Hyperallergic, Artdaily, The Dartmouth, and Business Newspress.

An exciting moment for the Hood Museum came when John Stomberg, director, Amelia Kahl, curator of academic programming, and Sunglim Kim, associate professor of art history at Dartmouth, visited Seoul, South Korea, in the fall of 2021 in preparation for the fall 2022 exhibition Park Dae Sung: Ink Reimagined featuring contemporary Korean artist Park Dae Sung. Their trip was chronicled by photographs and interviews in the Korean Times and Korea Herald. Since that time, the exhibition has been promoted by Artforum and others. With the exhibition opening September 23, 2022, the museum is looking forward to where this story will take us next year.

One of our student curators had the amazing opportunity to be interviewed by Artscope, The Dartmouth, and NewTV for her A Space for Dialogue exhibition Images of Disability. "The Hood Museum at Dartmouth College is home to an innovative program allowing student curators to create an exhibition from concept to realization, producing all aspects of their self-defined project," wrote Susan Apel in Artful. The exhibition featured "a diverse array of contemporary expression" and was highlighted in a roundup of regional museum offerings in the Boston Globe.

Arguably, the most successfully publicized exhibition was This Land: American Engagement with the Natural World, which saw mentions and reviews in Artful, Art Daily, Concord Monitor, Seven Days, The Daily Progress, The Dartmouth, National Review, The Art Wolf, Pow Wow Headquarters, and a multispread review in Art New England magazine.

Other exciting topics included the hiring of Associate Curator of Photography Alisa Swindell, named by Culture Type as one of the "69 Museum Curators and Arts Leaders Who Took on Notable New Appointments in 2021." On another note, Curator of Indigenous Art Jami Powell was quoted in a New York Times article advocating for the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) and describing the museum's attempt to repatriate Native American burial remains and sacred objects in the collection. In March 2021, the Hood Museum was listed in the "27 Top Things to Do in New Hampshire," by U.S. News & World Report.

Press coverage: July 1, 2021–June 30, 2022

"Hood Museum Acquires Over 6,000 Vintage Hollywood Photographs," The Dartmouth, July 2, 2021

"Acquisitions Roundup: 90 New Works by 45 Artists Purchased for the UK Government Art Collection," The Art Newspaper, July 13, 2021

"There's More to Alma Thomas Than Colorful Abstractions, an Eclectic Show of the Artist's Marionettes, Still Lifes, and Other Work Proves," Artnet News, July 15, 2021

"The Hood Hosts Virtual Public Workshop on Expressive Writing," The Dartmouth, July 16, 2021

"The Hood Hosts Virtual Public Workshop on Expressive Writing," Daily Advent, July 16, 2021

"Alma Thomas' Art Takes Center Stage," Smithsonian Magazine, July 19, 2021

"Art Notes: Hood Museum Reopening a Step toward a Rejuvenated Art Scene," The Valley News, July 28, 2021

"Vermont Visual Arts," Rutland Herald, July 31, 2021

"'Alma's Stripes,' and More, as Alma Thomas Takes Center Stage at Chrysler Museum Of Art," Forbes, August 3, 2021

"Putting the 'Art' Back in Dartmouth: The Hood Museum of Art Reopens," The Dartmouth, August 6, 2021

"The Hood Is Back, Open to All," Dartmouth News, August 6, 2021

"Push to Return 116,000 Native American Remains Is Long-Awaited," The New York Times, August 6, 2021

"Park Dae Sung, Master of Ink-and-Wash Paintings with Creative Modern Touch," The Korean Times, August 9, 2021

"Deb Haaland Wears Hood-Commissioned Boots at D.C. Photo Shoot," Dartmouth News, August 10, 2021

"Vermont Visual Arts," Times Argus, August 14, 2021

"Planting Seeds of Change at the MFA," The Boston Globe, August 19, 2021

"Vermont Visual Arts," Rutland Herald, August 21, 2021

"Frist Art Museum Announces 2022 Schedule: 'Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful,'" Nashville Parent, August 24, 2021

"Regional Visual Arts," Eagle Times, August 26, 2021

"Evocative Creations," OutSmart Magazine, September 1, 2021 [cover story]

"The Art of Alma Thomas Comes Full Circle at the Phillips," Humanities 42, no. 4 (Fall 2021), September 1, 2021

"With Artists from Afar, White River Junction Galleries Bring the Outside In," The Valley News, September 2, 2021

"Dartmouth College Tightens COVID Rules, Bars Outsiders' Entry to Most Campus Buildings," The Valley News, September 3, 2021

"Hood Museum Encourages Students to Take Ownership of Their Space," The Dartmouth, September 7, 2021

"Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, Acquires Souls Grown Deep Foundation Works," Artdaily, September 9, 2021

"Hood Reopening to the Public with a Celebration," The Dartmouth, September 16, 2021

"Washington Celebrates Alma Thomas, the late D.C. painter who sought beauty in the everyday," The Washington Post, September 21, 2021

"Hood Museum Acquires Ten Works by African American Artists," The Dartmouth, September 23, 2021

"Hood Museum Acquires Ten Works by African American Artists," Business Newspress, September 23, 2021

"Indigenous Students Celebrate, Protest on Indigenous Peoples' Day," The Dartmouth, October 14, 2021

"Indigenous Ceramic and Textile Artist Anita Fields Speaks to Students Virtually," The Dartmouth, October 14, 2021

"Being There, Doing That: A Dozen Exhibits to Check Out Now around New England," Boston Globe, October 15, 2021

"Third Annual Indigenous Peoples' Month Fashion Show Returns to the Hood," The Dartmouth, October 21, 2021

"Alum Spotlight: Maeve McBride '20 Explores Disabilities through Art," The Dartmouth, October 21, 2021

"Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth Expands Curatorial Team," Artdaily, October 22, 2021

"Latest News in Black Art: Huey P. Newton Sculpture Unveiled, Charisse Pearlina Weston Wins 2021 Burke Prize, DuSable Museum Names Danny Dunson Chief Curator & More," Culture Type, October 24, 2021

"The Hood Museum of Art Expands Curatorial Team," The Herald, October 29, 2021

"Congratulations to Alisa Swindell on Her Appointment as New Associate Curator of Photography at the Hood Museum of Art!" University of Illinois Chicago News, October 31, 2021

"Moving Pictures: Photo Aficionado Robert Dance '77 Keeps His Eye on Old Hollywood," Dartmouth Alumni Magazine (November/December 2021), November 1, 2021

"For Beloved D.C. Artist Alma Thomas, Beauty Wasn't Just About Art. It Was Essential to Life, Too," The Washington Post, November 3, 2021

"What I Love About My Fall Classes," People, Places, Pines: Dartmouth Undergraduate Admissions, November 4, 2021

"At the deCordova, Jeffrey Gibson Weaves a Dazzling Display of Subversion and Joy," Boston Globe, November 4, 2021

"A Space for Dialogue: Hood Exhibition Confronts Disability Biases," Artscope (November/December 2021), November 5, 2021

"This Land: American Engagement with the Natural World," Seven Days, November 10, 2021

"Korean Art Expands Global Footprint in Foreign Museums," The Korea Herald, November 15, 2021

"Art Notes for Nov. 18," The Daily Progress, November 17, 2021

"Artist Georg Baselitz Featured at Newly Opened Thaddaeus Ropac Seoul," The Korea Times, November 17, 2021

"Korean Contemporary Art Captures Attention in US, Europe," The Korea Times, November 18, 2021 [interview]

"Latest News in Black Art: Estate of Thornton Dial and Kevin Beasley Join New Galleries, Julie Mehretu and Kehinde Wiley Collaborate with American Express, Smithsonian Launches Searchable Museum & More,"   Culture Type, November 22, 2021

"Gee's Bend Quilts, Purvis Young Works, and More Enter Five University Collections," Hyperallergic, November 30, 2021

"Museum Open House: Hood Museum of Art; Images of Disability," NewTV, December 1, 2021

"Guide To the Best Museums in New England," The Geographical Cure, December 8, 2021

"2021 in Review: A Year of Adaptation and Connection," Dartmouth News, December 15, 2021

"2021 in Pictures: Challenge and Beauty in Unique Times," Dartmouth News, December 15, 2021

"Coming Attractions: December 26 Through January 10—What Will Light Your Fire," The Arts Fuse, December 26, 2021

"The Magnificent 14: Must See, Must Do, December 29 to January 11," Seven Days, December 27, 2021

"On the Rise: 69 Museum Curators and Arts Leaders Who Took on Notable New Appointments in 2021," Culture Type, December 29, 2021

"See What's Currently On Display at the Hood Museum," Greater Upper Valley, December 30, 2021

"Art as a Way to Protest, Process, Mourn and Memorialize Anti-Black Violence in America," Northwestern Now, January 1, 2022

"Hood Museum of Art revisits 'American' Art," Concord Monitor, January 4, 2022

"Hood Museum of Art revisits 'American' Art," Pow Wow Headquarters, January 4, 2022

"Hood Museum of Art Revisits 'American' Art in 2022," ArtDaily, January 6, 2022

"This Land—Hood Museum Explores the Relationship between American Artists and the Natural World," The Art Wolf, January 10, 2022

"These Boots, 'This Land,'" Artful, January 10, 2022

"Major Retrospective of Georgia Artist Alma W. Thomas at Frist Art Museum in Nashville," All On Georgia, January 12, 2022

"Major Retrospective of Alma W. Thomas at Frist Art Museum Examines Artist's Wide-Ranging Creative Life," The Ritz Herald, January 12, 2022

"10 things to do in N.H. this weekend: Bigfoot Walk, Gallery Talk, MLK Day," New Hampshire Public Radio, January 13, 2022

"Student Spotlight: Abigail Smith '23 explores the Southern Gothic Genre's Representations of People of Color," The Dartmouth, January 18, 2022

"Art Notes for Jan. 20," The Daily Progress, January 19, 2022

"'This Land,' at the Hood Museum, Considers the Meaning of Place," Seven Days, January 19, 2022

"Student Spotlight: Student Artist Alice Crow '22 Creates Multimedia, Layered Works," The Dartmouth, January 25, 2022

"The Hanlon Years," Dartmouth News, January 26, 2022

"New Ucross Native American Art Curator Project Gets $47,000 from Warhol Foundation," Broadway World, January 26, 2022

"Livestream Spark! Lecture | Museum Collections: Revealing American Stories," The Rockwell Museum, January 27, 2022

"Vermont Visual Art," Times Argus, January 29, 2022

"Artist to Re-create Scene from Marsden Hartley Painting on Maine Lake," Sun Journal, January 30, 2022

"Indigenous Photographer Cara Romero Will Speak at the Hood this Wednesday," The Dartmouth, February 8, 2022

"Photographs from Hollywood's Golden Age: The John Kobal Foundation Collection," The Dartmouth Review, February 10, 2022

"Vermont Arts News," Eagle Times, February 10, 2022

"Art Notes: Short Film Shoot Will Be a Homecoming for Thetford Native," The Valley News, February 10, 2022

"Hood's 'In the Moment' Highlights Hamlin, Jewett," The Herald, February 17, 2022

"Hollywood in Hanover," New England Diary, February 18, 2022

"What Art Can Be: The Fralin Sees Things Differently After Lockdown and Renovation," C-ville Weekly, February 23, 2022

"The Hood's Winter Opening Reception Welcomes Community Members into the Museum," The Dartmouth, March 1, 2022

"The Inaugural John Kobal Lecture at the Hood Museum @ Dartmouth College, USA," The Eye of Photography, March 2, 2022

"Capsule Previews for Artscope 97," Artscope (March/April 2022), March 3, 2022

"Views From the Green: Highlights of Winter Term," Dartmouth News, March 8, 2022

"In Eric Aho's Paintings at the BCA Center, Landscape Is Exuberantly Abstract," Seven Days, March 9, 2022

"Environmental Graphic Design and Its History with Architecture Highlights the Value of Cross-disciplinary Expertise," Architect News, March 16, 2022

"Two Collections Become One in 'On This Ground: Being and Belonging in America' at PEM," Boston Globe, March 17, 2022

"Frist Art Museum Showcases Beauty through Life and Works of Alma Thomas," The Tennessean, March 17, 2022

"10 Things to Do in N.H. This Weekend: Maker Night, Ballet Misha, St. Patrick's Parade," New Hampshire Public Radio, March 23, 2022

"Regional Arts News," Eagle Times, March 24, 2022

"27 Top Things to Do in New Hampshire," U.S. News & World Report, March 25, 2022

"Events to Mark Recommitment to Native American Education," Dartmouth News, April 1, 2022

"Hollywood Photos at the Hood: Selections from the John Kobal Foundation Collection Are on Display," Dartmouth News, April 6, 2022

"MMCA to Build Daejeon Venue, Host Joint Shows with World's Renowned Museums," Korea Herald, April 6, 2022

"MMCA to open fifth outpost in Daejeon," Artforum, April 7, 2022

"Hood Museum redefines 'American' art in day of public panels and conversation with scholars." The Dartmouth, April 12, 2022

"Dartmouth to Return Samson Occom's Possessions to Mohegan Tribe," The Dartmouth, April 14, 2022

"'This Land: American Engagement with the Natural World': Hood Brings Together Art by ALL Americans," Rutland Herald, April 16, 2022

"After A Trip to the Hood Museum in New Hampshire, Get Outside and Explore Velvet Rocks via Appalachian Trail," Only in Your State, April 20, 2022

"Celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage," Dartmouth News, April 27, 2022

"A Solemn and Celebratory Occasion," Dartmouth News, April 27, 2022

"This Land: American Engagement with the Natural World," Art New England (May/June 2022), May 1, 2022

"A Profile of Dartmouth's Nearly Perfect Hood Museum," National Review, May 5, 2022

"Hollywood Comes to New Hampshire, with Dartmouth's Art Acquisition," National Review, May 7, 2022

"U.S. Museums Are Trying to Return Hundreds of Looted Benin Treasures," The Washington Post, May 12, 2022

"Celebrating the Aloha Spirit," Dartmouth News, May 18, 2022

"Brancusi 'Bird in Space' Captures Attention in the Hood's Front Window," The Dartmouth, May 31, 2022

"Art Notes: See This exhibit, Even Though I Haven't," The Valley News, June 2, 2022

"Finnish Study Reveals Human Bones Were Used to Make Jewelry in 6,000 BC," Ancient Origins, June 7, 2022

"Hood Exhibition Explores Time through Native American Art," The Dartmouth, June 12, 2022

"10 Things To Do in N.H. This Weekend: Nashua Latino Festival, Hot Sauce & More," New Hampshire Public Radio, June 27, 2022

"Marshals Pick Their Favorite Spots on Campus," Dartmouth News, June 10, 2022

Visitor services 

In the summer of 2021, the visitor services team was actively preparing for the reopening of the museum galleries to the public on August 4. Following the Hood Museum's initial pandemic lockdown in the middle of March 2020, the galleries had been available only for tours of small groups of students, faculty, and staff, and the guides felt great anticipation about opening the doors once again. We also welcomed three new team members (Grace Ross, Deborah Jayne, and Ashley Todt) and began hiring temporary gallery attendants, all of which facilitated our return to public gallery hours.

In the first month of reopening, in which the museum was open Wednesday through Saturday, including Thursday and Friday evenings, we welcomed a whopping 3,688 visitors (adults: 2,827; college students: 509; and children: 352), indicating the pent-up demand even during a traditionally quiet late-summer month. The visitors were clearly grateful to spend time with the collection and exhibitions, encountering some familiar works and meeting some new ones.

During FY22, the guides continued to assist different museum departments with ongoing projects, including external relations (digital sorting and labeling of files, website updates, advertisements, and publication distribution and inventory), registration (public art checks, file labeling, and data entry), and curatorial (research presentations, filming, and courier deliveries). 

In addition, the museum began hiring students to work in the galleries with the visitor services team. Our FY22 student gallery attendants included Julia Tran, Pierce Wilson, Justine Zakayo, Lena Kufferman, and Chloe Jung. The responsibilities of the student gallery attendants are similar to those of our professional guides and include: ensuring that all museum visitors have a positive experience; answering visitors' questions and providing assistance to them; enforcing rules and looking out for suspicious behavior; and engaging visitors in casual conversations about works of art and museum programs. The students also provided a valuable front-facing presence for the Hood Museum on campus, particularly with regard to their peers.

As a whole, team members successfully maintained the security and safety of the staff, collection, and building while serving as frontline communicators and ambassadors for the museum's messaging and mission at Dartmouth and in the Upper Valley and broader communities.

Click here to read a post authored by the Visitor Services Guide staff titled "Thoughts from the Welcome Desk" on the Hood Museum of Art's blog Meanwhile at the Museum.

Security / buildings

FY22 witnessed the departure of Steven Perkins as the Hood Museum of Art's security/buildings manager and the return to staff of Andrew Turner, now in his role as security/buildings manager. Andrew possesses unique, in-depth knowledge of the building's mechanical workings and served as the interim security/buildings manager prior to Steven's arrival in 2020. Before that, Andrew had worked in the Hood Museum's education department and as a security guard, and later he helped in the development of the visitor services guide and visitor services manager positions.  

Since returning to the museum in May 2022, Andrew has focused on reestablishing contacts with campus partners and connecting the museum with other departments here at Dartmouth. Working with staff from the Office of Safety and Security, campus libraries, ITC (Information, Technology and Consulting), and the Department of Anthropology, in particular, Andrew and other Hood Museum staff are looking at new ways to preserve and protect the collections. Andrew also arranged active-shooter training for the staff of the museum and supported various building improvements.

Over the next year, the security/buildings area will be engaged in maintaining and updating certifications with the visitor services team as well as offering new training for the entire staff.