Q&A: Hood Museum of Art director Juliette Bianco

by Amelia Rosch | 9/8/15 7:31pm

Since graduating from the College in 1994, Juliette Bianco, the Hood Museum of Art’s deputy director, began working at the museum in 1998 and has served in various positions including exhibition manager and assistant director, as well as helping to put together two books. In addition to overseeing the museum’s day-to-day management and long-term planning, Bianco has also overseen the creation of a $10 million endowment for the director’s position, the installation of a new piece of public art and an ongoing renovation, including an expansion of the museum which is supposed to begin in the spring of 2016.

How has the Hood Museum changed or evolved during your time at the College?

JB: I’d say that the biggest change is that the Hood Museum of Art has become increasingly vital to the curricular and extracurricular lives of Dartmouth students. When the museum first opened its doors in 1985, there was no object study room for faculty and students to look at works in the collection that were not on view in the galleries. In contrast, in this past year, students from classes in 29 different departments studied works of art in the museum’s behind-the-scenes object-study room, accounting for 2,000 student visits to that space. On top of that, the museum has more recently worked with students to develop student-only “after hours” programs, so everyone should look for student parties, workshops, special study hours during finals and a multi-week program on acquiring works for the collection. One thing that has not changed is that visiting the museum is always free.

For the last few years, the Hood has been preparing to undergo renovations. What impact will they have on student life this year?

JB: During construction, the museum will work to stay connected to students through creative programming on campus and online. We are presently exploring possibilities for student engagement during the expansion, likely starting in the [next] academic year. We plan to involve our student interns and student focus groups in this effort.

What can students expect to see from the Hood moving forward?

JB: Our renovation and expansion project will enrich the student experience with the arts on campus through exciting new galleries, smart object-study rooms and a flexible event space. Meanwhile, we have a full slate of fall and winter exhibitions and programming.

What has been your favorite part about working with the Hood?

JB: Every day I am able to contribute tangibly to the ways in which art can serve as a catalyst to connect people, ideas, cultures and societies across time and place. Each work of art in the museum’s collection enables a new conversation and a new way of seeing and understanding the world. This is something that the Hood contributes to the Dartmouth experience, and I am really proud of it.

This interview has been edited and condensed.