Hood Museum of Art Strategic Vision, 2017-2021Chapter one
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 its regional communities. 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), 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 in the midst of a physical expansion and renovation, and 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 expansion and renovation 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 District, as well as a welcoming entry into the new museum and center for object study. 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 auditorium and general visitor services accommodations.
Aligned with the planning process involved in our new spaces, museum staff and campus and community stakeholders engaged in a five-year strategic plan for the Hood Museum of Art (2017 through 2021), begun under the expert guidance of the consulting firm brightspot strategy.
The strategic planning process included the following steps:
- gathering input from a wide variety of stakeholders, including students, faculty members, community members, and Dartmouth and museum leadership;
- developing a vision that will see the museum through a period of change and growth;
- preparing a five-year operational plan that acknowledges the closure for construction and sets up the reopening of the expanded museum; and
- identifying opportunities to apply the museum’s new purpose, vision, and goals to its practice and broader planning efforts (branding, design, and so forth).
We thank the many participants in the strategic plan process: the members of Dartmouth’s administration, the faculty, the students, the Hood staff, the members of the Hood Museum of Art Board of Overseers, and the Upper Valley residents who are Hood members, school teachers, and dedicated visitors. This plan encompasses a revitalized purpose statement and a vision statement, combined with five core goals. While supporting the mission, intellectual character, and core values of Dartmouth, it also responds to insights gained from thirty years of standard-setting practice at the museum and anticipates everything we aspire to become in our new facility in the future.
The Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth enables and cultivates transformative encounters with works of artistic and cultural significance to advance critical thinking and enrich people’s lives.
To realize this purpose for all, we:
- articulate the character and value of encountering original works of art and material culture;
- promote engaged learning, creative activity, and meaningful scholarship;
- create challenging and exploratory interactions with art and artists to spark curiosity and develop fresh insights into the world around us;
- present open fora for discourse and discovery;
- collaborate to acquire, catalogue, curate, and preserve our collection;
- respond to the needs and interests of our audiences; and
- foster a culture of inclusion.
First and foremost, the Hood Museum of Art is a museum focused on serving Dartmouth’s faculty and academic mission. Over the next five years, we will focus on broadening our reach to students, faculty, and departments that do not use the Hood’s collections and resources today and deepening our impact on the students, faculty, and departments with whom we work today.
The Hood is also a regional museum. As one of the few art museums in the Upper Valley and surrounding communities, we play an important role in K–12 education, continuing education, and community engagement. Over the next five years, we will maintain our resources for the Upper Valley and local communities and focus on increasing our impact for these visitors and users of the Hood.
Finally, the museum is a destination for cultural tourists who are interested in visiting our distinguished collections and exhibitions. For these visitors, we will continue to offer welcoming and engaging experiences in our building and improve on the experiences available to them on our grounds and through our website.
Goal 1: Lead in object-based teaching and learning
Set the standard for experiential engagement with art and material culture.
Design, implement, communicate, and evaluate exceptional object-based pedagogy. Develop resources and activities for diverse audience experiences and interactions in the center for object study, galleries, events space, studio, and elsewhere within and beyond the museum.
1.1. Serve as a visible, impactful teaching resource by providing key programs and tours outside of the Hood’s physical space to support teaching and learning activities. 1.2. Design, test, and implement new teaching strategies for all audiences by codifying pedagogical goals and piloting new practices to deepen engagement via successful approaches to object-based teaching and learning. 1.3. Evaluate and expand experiential student learning opportunities by refining and developing opportunities for students to learn through co-curricular programming, hands-on work, and internship experiences. 1.4. Maintain and increase impact of education programs by aligning school and adult education programs with new teaching strategies. 1.5. Develop partnerships to expand the Hood’s impact and effectiveness by establishing connections with teaching-oriented partners to help faculty and teachers achieve their pedagogical goals, and to develop Dartmouth students as global citizens.
Measures of Success
The Hood’s collections are used by all the academic divisions at Dartmouth at least once a year and are included in course syllabi. Academic programming staff members are approaching at least three new faculty per term, and one new department per year, to teach with the collections. We have improved the number and depth of the curricular connections we can offer between museum visits and classroom learning, both on campus and in the community. We are publishing on our practice of experiential teaching and learning. We have expanded our connections with the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL). We are partnering with campus centers and groups such as the John Sloan Dickey Center, the Rockefeller Leadership Fellows, the Dartmouth Center for Public Service, and the FSP and LSA programs to extend our reach into such areas as teaching cultural competencies and global citizenry. Academic programming and community education are working together strategically.