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Happy Birthday, Hood

Dartmouth's museum celebrates 20 years

The Hood Museum of Art celebrates its 20th birthday with a yearlong focus on its diverse permanent collections and a number of public programs. Since the official opening of its award-winning building in 1985, the Hood has served as one of the region's premier cultural and educational resources. Recognized by the American Association of Museums as a "national model," the Hood is one of the oldest and largest college or university art museums in the United States and has received nearly 900,000 visitors from around the world in the past 20 years.


Unknown Artisit Punu Peoples, Gabon
Mask (mukudj) late 19th century-1927; Wood and kaolin, purchased through the Mrs. Harvey P. Hood W'18 Fund.

The anniversary year will be marked by celebrations and exhibitions that demonstrate the museum's impact on the College and the community. The year begins with an exhibition organized by members of the museum's main constituent departments-Anthropology, Art History, Classics and Studio Art-titled Critical Faculties: Teaching with the Hood's Collections.

Starting in February, visitors will experience a newly reinstalled Kim Gallery, featuring interpretive materials on the signature 9th-century Assyrian reliefs and the installation of some new objects. The highlight of the year is a traveling exhibition of the museum's finest American works on paper: Marks of Distinction: Two Hundred Years of American Drawings and Watercolors from the Hood Museum of Art. This exhibit, opening at the end of March, will be organized by Jonathan L. Cohen Curator of American Art Barbara MacAdam.

In the summer and fall Celebrating Twenty Years: Gifts in Honor of the Hood Museum of Art will present important gifts from Dartmouth alumni and friends in honor of the anniversary. Also in the fall, the Hood has commissioned internationally renowned artist Fred Wilson, U.S. representative to the Fiftieth Venice Biennale in 2003, to create a site-specific exhibition exploring issues of race, ethnicity, and ideologies of art, culture and value as represented by the museum's collections. 

Dartmouth's permanent collection began in 1772 when a few natural science specimens were given to the fledgling institution. The completion of the Hood Museum in 1985 allowed for the consolidation of the College's extensive fine art collections, which grew substantially during the 20th century. The postmodern building, designed by Charles Moore and Chad Floyd of Centerbrook Architects, was made possible by a gift from Harvey P. Hood '18 and his family, for whom the museum is named.

Today, the museum preserves approximately 65,000 works of art representing a broad range of cultural areas and historical periods. The breadth of the collection supports the College's teaching mission and encompasses a wide variety of specific art objects, including Native American, Oceanic and African collections; old master prints; American colonial silver; portraits; paintings of the White Mountains region of New England and major works of modern and contemporary art.

Central to the work of the museum is the development of programs that include exhibitions from the museum's own collections. Since its opening, the Hood has mounted almost 400 exhibitions, including Here and Hereafter: Images of Paradise in Islamic Art (1991), The Age of the Marvelous (1992), Intimate Encounters: Love and Domesticity in Eighteenth-Century France (1998), José Clemente Orozco in the United States, 1927-1932 (2002), and Coming of Age in Ancient Greece: Images of Childhood from the Classical Past (2003). The shows traveled to institutions such as the High Museum of Art; the Virginia Museum of Fine Art; the Asia Society; the North Carolina Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico City; the San Diego Museum of Art; the Cincinnati Museum of Art; and the J. Paul Getty Museum.

 The museum's extensive outreach program engages over 10,000 area elementary and high school students and teachers annually through teen workshops, teacher institutes and other events. Frequent scholarly lectures and symposia, gallery talks by Hood curators and Dartmouth faculty, public tours, family-oriented programs and free family guides provide accessible enrichment opportunities to campus and community members.

Katherine Hart, Interim Director and Barbara C. and Harvey P. Hood 1918 Curator of Academic Programming, noted, "Over the past 20 years the Hood Museum of Art has evolved into a wonderful regional and academic museum with a national reputation. The staff of this institution is small, but it has accomplished wonderful things. We all look forward to the next phase of our development and thank the faculty, our colleagues, students, the College's generous alumni and our wonderful regional audience for their continued support of our collections and programs."

By SHARON REED

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Last Updated: 12/17/08