Letter from the Director: Spring 2008

Posted on March 01, 2008 by Kristin Swan

Hood Quarterly, spring 2008
Brian Kennedy, Director

One of the most exciting aspects of directing the Hood Museum of Art is my access to the brilliant students of Dartmouth College. They are talented, questioning, studious, and fun to be with, especially as museum interns and part-time staff members, when we come to know them better. Nearly all were at the very top of their classes in high school, and now they partake of an intellectual ferment in rural New Hampshire. The museum's role is to promote visual literacy on the campus and in the community by creating opportunities for direct engagement with works of art, and we strive to inspire, educate, and collaborate with all of our audiences. The New York Times featured Hanover, New Hampshire, in a half-page article recently, promoting its virtues and particularly the extraordinary opportunities in lifelong education, such as the museum, provided by the presence of Dartmouth College.

A museum exhibition of the scale of Black Womanhood, our major traveling show for this spring/summer, has seen many interns from different classes involved with it. Our talented and skilled exhibition curator, Barbara Thompson, had the opportunity to mentor some very bright people, who will take their experiences with her out into the world and, we trust, help to make its societies more visually literate as well. The Hood's teaching method based on a multistep process—look, describe, analyze, and interpret—is to me one of the most exciting things an art educator and curator could ever learn about, and I have loved being involved with it.

We are especially proud of those students who create Space for Dialogue exhibitions for our museum foyer. These are the first works of art one sees when visiting our museum, and as I write this the forty-second such show has just been mounted by Virginia Deaton '08 with works relating to the aftermath of the American Civil War. Each student's accompanying brochure and public lecture provide focal points for our community to affirm why we are here—simply put, to teach with works of art from our extensive and eclectic collections. Other student interns assist curators with exhibitions or professors with preparations for classes in our study-storage areas. They complete object research, help out with public affairs, develop education programs, assist with the museum's website, and arrange student parties and other campus and community events.

It was a great joy to us in December 2007 when Adam Levine '08, who has worked for several years at the Hood Museum of Art, was the recipient of a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University, where he will study for a doctoral degree in classics. He is a triple major at Dartmouth in anthropology, art history, and mathematics and social sciences. He told a journalist recently: "I love the fact that a museum exhibit can change the way people look at the world." As well as his work at the Hood, he has been an intern and research assistant at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and an intern in the pre-Columbian art, African and Oceanic art, and antiquities departments of Sotheby's in New York. It is a great joy to know that the Hood Museum of Art has been an important part of the formation of such wonderfully gifted young people.

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Written March 01, 2008 by Kristin Swan