The Museum Club launched in the fall of 2018, ahead of the Hood Museum of Art's reopening, with a mission: to engage students and empower them to further connect the museum to campus. With the promise of a new building (and lots of pizza), we saw immediate interest from students across all class years and majors, ranging from art history to psychology and biology. By October, the inaugural cohort was meeting weekly to learn about the Hood Museum, gain a better understanding of museum practice, and use their knowledge to launch new student initiatives.
As part of their learning, the students met with different Hood Museum staff to learn about their work and how it contributes to the larger institution. Meetings were also dedicated to student engagement opportunities. As the museum planned its student opening party, the group provided ideas and feedback that helped make the event a success. Over 1,300 students (20 percent of the student body) showed up to the event on January 31! Continuing that success, the club organized a new once-a-term event series called Hood After 5 that brings students together over art, food, music, and more. It is a chance for students to continually return with their friends to see what's new (and what's cool) at the Hood Museum.
In April, a small club cohort went to Harvard Art Museums' Third Annual Student Museum Conference to learn from other students in the region about how they contribute to their museums, and to share their own experiences. Topics of discussion included tech and new media, difficult histories, curation and decision making, accessibility and outreach, and campus engagement.
There are various projects on the horizon for us. We are thinking of creative ways to get the word out about museum events. We are creating new merchandise to give away at events and to promote the Hood Museum on campus. The club has even started meeting with curators to provide a student perspective on exhibitions and exhibitions programming slated for 2020 and 2021.
It has been only a year and we have already accomplished a lot together. We can't wait to update you again next year.
Campus Engagement Coordinator