For several months, before and after the transition of the Friends of Hopkins Center and Hood Museum of Art to the new membership program, Friends volunteers and museum staff met weekly to discuss how best to transition Friends members into Hood members. It was an invigorating experience for all of us, as we viewed publications and discussed benefits, explored research on reciprocal agreements, and brainstormed around participation levels, giving ranges, and programming for members. Two overarching themes emerged during the process. First, membership should continue to support the educational mission of the museum by providing free admission and access to programs for adults and children. Secondly, the new membership structure should reflect existing participation levels and become inclusive of all of the museum's many benefactors.
During the twenty-two years of its existence, the Hood has been fortunate to have been engaged with dedicated individuals who recognize the importance of the visual arts at Dartmouth College and in the community. They have given generously of their time and resources, and we wanted to acknowledge their contributions. We also wanted to acknowledge former Friends and new Hood members by establishing giving categories that reflect their levels of support. We have therefore established eight membership categories that include Friend and Lathrop Fellow levels as well as Director and Chairman's Circles. New benefits include exciting opportunities for free or discounted admissions at selected national museums and advanced invitations for regional, North American, or international travel, as well as a semiannual gala. Exclusive member events designed around Hood exhibitions will also make it possible to engage with lecturers, artists, curators, and the museum's director. In October 2007 the Hood Museum of Art Board of Overseers gave their approval to the new membership structure, and, as of January 1, 2008, all currently renewed and new Hood members will receive the enhanced benefits. Thank you, as always, for your generous support!