Encouraging a Path Forward

A message from Director John R. Stomberg during difficult times.

Once again, we struggle to make sense of the senseless. Once again, we bear witness to our country's troubled history of racial violence, from Freddie Gray and Eric Garner to Sandra Bland and Trayvon Martin. Once again, we try to cope as best as we can, whether suffering in silence, participating in protests, or engaging in conversations that evoke all of our emotions. Once again, we try to explain to our children that which cannot be explained. Once again, we pray for justice and we pray for peace. Once again.

Lonnie Bunch III, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, May 31, 2020

But this time, many of the very institutions that had in the past remained on the sidelines are taking a stand against systemic racism. This time, colleges and libraries, museums and historical agencies are using their public pulpits to encourage a path forward. This time, we are openly supporting the protest and other forms of speech that foster change while adamantly decrying violence as a response to violence.

Yesterday, Dartmouth President Philip J. Hanlon '77 wrote: "We are outraged by deplorable acts of violence against black men and women, such as the recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. And by the less visible structural forms of racism that lead people of color to disproportionately shoulder the burdens of poverty and inequality as has been so strikingly evident in the higher incidence of illness, job loss, and death they are experiencing as a result of the pandemic."

The Hood Museum of Art too stands resolute in its support of those who seek to make permanent change in this world. While our actions remain circumscribed by the current pandemic, we will continue to put forth programming that encourages change, gives a platform to creative instigations for dialogue, and provides an arena for the meaningful exchange of ideas. We seek to give a forum to the underrepresented and unleash creative voices too often suppressed.

John R. Stomberg
Virginia Rice Kelsey 1961s Director


Written June 01, 2020