Strategic Vision, 2022–2026
This strategic plan activates the possibility inherent in the museum's new facilities and dynamic organization. It refocuses longstanding institutional goals for experiential learning by expanding the artists and audiences with, about, and from whom we learn—through art and material culture, diverse programming, and shared curiosity.
The Tod Williams / Billie Tsien–designed building expansion opened in 2019 with a staff eager to re-embrace Dartmouth students and our extended community. COVID-19, however, sidelined those ambitions. This plan outlines the Hood Museum's optimistic reengagement with all its communities and a still-emerging, pandemic-informed cultural, social, and civic ecosystem.
The Hood Museum will proactively invite new voices into its spaces and practices. Through an array of expanded and new initiatives, the museum will place art and people at the center of its work, advancing mutual learning, care, and connections. Through transformative encounters with works of artistic and cultural significance, it will continue to advance critical thinking and enrich people's lives.
Such initiatives will feature post-baccalaureate fellowships; visiting curator opportunities; increased funding for underrepresented areas of the collection; and robust digital access to the collection. Buoyed by its responsible financial stewardship through the global economic crisis and with the College's steadfast enthusiasm, the Hood Museum is poised to blaze a meaningful and inclusive path for Dartmouth students, faculty, and staff; regional residents and teachers; and artists and all art-interested audiences.
The Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, centers art and people in teaching and learning through inclusive and robust academic, cultural, and civic engagements with art and its histories.
The Hood Museum will advance learning, care, and connections through the reach and relevance of visual art and material culture. As a nexus for the exchange of ideas, the museum will:
- foster environments for mutual learning and teaching;
- embrace a model of care for art and artists; for Dartmouth students, faculty, and staff; for regional residents, teachers, lifelong learners, and visitors; and through its operational and environmental impact; and
- forge meaningful connections across disciplines, peoples, and local and global communities.
Institutional behaviors that the Hood staff will privilege in their decision making and through their work with peers, partners, audiences, and others.
- Promote equitable, diverse, inclusive, and just museum practices.
- Operate with transparent processes for decision making and evaluation.
- Enrich student experiences in alignment with Dartmouth's mission.
- Act with humility, having a point of view that is open to others' contributions.
- Embrace experimentation, new ideas, and uncertainty, spurring organizational learning and growth.
Goal 1: Deepen the Hood Museum's educational impact across Dartmouth and the region
Establish the Hood as a central place for Dartmouth students, faculty, staff, and regional communities to generate new perspectives, imaginings, knowledge, and joy. Through academic, co-curricular, social, and civic interactions, museum users will discover and co-create opportunities for meaningful and lasting benefits. They will gain a sense of ownership in the Hood through engaged scholarship and education, professional development, and more.
- Expand and refine the collaboration between the Hood Museum's academic programming and education teams to co-create and share educational resources for the benefit of all audiences.
- Further integrate museum content into core Dartmouth curricula and broaden the range of academic departments and programs using the museum.
- Implement annual co-curricular outreach and engagement plans that align the campus with Hood exhibition and programming goals.
- Promote students' professional development opportunities via participation in meaningful museum work.
- Further integrate museum learning into the academic and socio-emotional curricula of local K–12 schools through outreach, professional development, and museum visits.
- Develop and execute annual outreach and engagement plan for non-campus audiences (adults, families, community groups, etc.).
Goal 2: Reimagine the collection's influence and potential
Activate the permanent collections through critical scholarship, publications, and access. Develop ethical and sustainable practices for owning, cataloging, and utilizing the Hood's holdings. Bring new and multiple perspectives into the conversations.
- Redouble efforts to digitize the collection, broadening online and in-person availability and accessibility (e.g., digital cataloging with public and peer access; institutional lending).
- Embrace multiple points of view in exploring art histories (e.g., guest practitioners and co-curation; Dartmouth student and scholar voices; community wisdom).
- Further develop and highlight Indigenous collections and global Indigeneity.
- Establish collecting practices that are transparent, sustainable, inclusive, and ethical, including the ways in which art is accessioned, deaccessioned, and funded, as well as who is involved in the process.
- Diversify the breadth of media being presented to stimulate fresh conversations among objects and audiences.
Goal 3: Enable greater access to the Hood's resources
Increase and enhance access to the Hood Museum's resources—spaces, staff, collections, programs, networks, social media, and so forth—to generate insights into our cultures and our times. Invite perspectives from outside the museum to influence decisions around programmatic conception, design, and interpretation, creating a more shared platform for the creation of content and understanding.
- Help diversify the museum field, particularly through professional and pre-professional opportunities for Dartmouth students and others.
- Invest in virtual and in-person teaching and programming that reaches on- and off-campus audiences.
- Increase audience access to the Hood's physical and intellectual resources (e.g., building hours, furniture, and ADA compliance; interpretive language; print and digital publications, website interface, etc.).
- Pursue community input, feedback, and co-creation of relevant public programming and offerings (e.g., conduct evaluation and audience research; form a community advisory group).
Goal 4: Spark imaginations and activate spaces of possibility
Promote creativity and risk taking among the Hood's staff, users, partners, and publics. Embrace uncertainty and provocation as essential stimulants to discovery, understanding, and intellectual and social exchange.
- Collaborate with artists and scholars to create meaningful original works and generative programming.
- Host critical conversations around urgent topics that engage audiences and inform exhibitions, programming, teaching, and other engagement.
- Develop multidisciplinary curricular connections among Dartmouth faculty and students, regional teachers, and museum staff both accustomed to and new to the museum.
- Program activities or environments that bring together and engage on-campus and off-campus audiences (including outdoor, pop-up, and other sorts of presentation and gathering spaces).
Goal 5: Champion sustainable museum practice
Infuse the museum's operations with an appreciation and concern for its impact on the people who interact with it (e.g., staff, artists, students, community members, faculty, and so forth), as well as its ecological impact. Create an environment in which the museum continues to improve, and one that promotes well-being.
- Create more robust staff, user, and visitor feedback systems that produce actionable insights from their responses to, capacity for, and appreciation of the museum's work (including staff review processes, program and exhibition evaluation, staff pulse surveys, and class reviews).
- Produce management documents with multi-year horizons that frame the museum's ethical priorities for budgeting and fundraising, collection management, academic programming, and so forth.
- Supply staff training and professional development opportunities, including equity and accessibility as an objective.
- Develop and implement more explicit, adaptable, inclusive, and transparent decision-making processes and criteria.
- Introduce environmental assessment tools that influence how the museum understands its ecological impact as well as its impact on staff and users.
The Hood Museum staff wishes to thank Tom Shapiro of Cultural Strategy Partners for his consultation throughout this strategic planning process and his contribution to both the direction and the document that resulted from it.