THE MUSEUM OF YES
John Stomberg, Virginia Rice Kelsey 1961s Director
Hood Quarterly, fall 2019
Before our recent expansion and renovation, the Hood staff who worked in the Bernstein Study Storage were in the trying position of operating near or at capacity many weeks of the year. In essence, the demand for time slots continuously strained the supply we could offer. We had but one space for teaching with the objects that were not on view in the galleries. We were confronted with the very real possibility that we would one day have to turn away professors who asked to bring their students into Bernstein (as it was lovingly known). Avoiding that fate by creating ample object-study space became a driving motivation in the design of the new museum. We dreamed of confidently advertising ourselves as the “Museum of Yes.”
What does it mean to be a “Museum of Yes”?
As that idea settled in, the refrain began to permeate operations throughout the Hood. First, of course, we now have the space and staff to accommodate far more classes than we had in the past. But, more than that, being the Museum of Yes informs our collective attitude toward collaborations across the campus. Already the programs team has joined up with West House and South House, with Tuck and Geisel, with Athletics and the Hopkins Center—in each case working to turn ideas into actions. We have made art, had parties, hosted conferences, listened to music, held performances, exchanged aspirations, heard talks, debated policy, and meditated. The lead time required for planning such programs is short enough that many of these had only recently sprung up as suggestions. Soon, we will be bringing longer-term projects to life, especially ambitious exhibitions. Our curators have been working on their own and with faculty from across campus on a lively schedule of shows that will thrill, delight, challenge, and inspire us for years to come.
This, then, is what it means to be the Museum of Yes.
We start with an open mind. We seek suggestions from staff, friends, colleagues, and visitors. We recognize that new ideas need care and nurturing to achieve their full potential, and we offer both the space and time for development. The new Hood is not just a place where stuff is; rather, it is a place of possibility, a place where stuff happens. It is a venue with open doors, open minds, and open arms. We hope you come by often.