Hood Museum of Art

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About Hood Museum of Art

Dartmouth’s collections are among the oldest and largest of any college or university in the country, but it was not until the Charles Moore–designed Hood Museum of Art opened its doors in 1985 that they were all housed under one roof and made available to faculty, students, and the public. When first accredited in 1990, the Hood was already described by the American Association of Museums (now the American Alliance of Museums) as a “national model” for college and university museums. The museum has been consistently accredited since then and subsequently labeled “as fine a museum as one can find in this country.” The Hood’s collections are drawn from a broad range of cultures and historical periods and represent a remarkable educational asset for both Dartmouth and the communities of the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire and Vermont. Among the museum’s most important holdings are six Assyrian stone reliefs from the palace of Ashurnasirpal II (about 900 BCE) and the remarkable fresco by José Clemente Orozco titled The Epic of American Civilization (1932–34), which is now a National Historic Landmark. The 65,000 objects in the museum’s care represent the diverse artistic traditions of six continents, including, broadly, Native American, European and American, Asian, Aboriginal Australian, African, and Melanesian art. The museum collects, preserves, and makes available for interpretation these works in the public trust and for the benefit of all.

The Hood is now embarked upon a physical expansion and renovation, as well as a reinvigoration of what it does and how it does it. With architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien and their team, as well as our colleagues in the Dartmouth President’s, Provost’s, and Campus Planning Offices, the Hood Museum of Art staff has immersed itself in a purpose-driven building project that renews this thirty-year-old institution on a campus that turns 250 in 2019. The museum will triple its teaching capacity from one study-storage room to three smart object-study classrooms, each designed to accommodate a particular type of experiential engagement with objects of aesthetic and cultural significance. It will expand its galleries by a third and add to its existing facility a new public concourse that will serve as a forum for the college’s arts and innovation initiatives, as well as a welcoming entry into the new museum and object-study center. The expansion also encompasses improvements to the original Charles Moore galleries, a new office suite and conference room for staff, and a renewal of the museum’s auditorium and general visitor-services accommodations.