Hood reopening to the public with a celebration

The Hood Museum of Art welcomes the College and Upper Valley back with an open house on Saturday.

by Paulina Marinkovic | 9/16/21 2:05am

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by Michael Lin / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

After a year and a half of closures and restrictions due to the pandemic, the Hood Museum of Art will host a reopening celebration on Saturday, Sept. 18. to officially welcome both the Dartmouth and the Upper Valley community back to the museum, with no appointment necessary during open hours.

Curator of academic programming at the Hood Amelia Kahl ’01 encouraged the College community to explore the eight exhibitions that will be featured and take advantage of the Hood’s new hybrid programming, which incorporates both in-person and virtual components.

“The galleries keep changing,” Kahl said. “We're excited to share those shows with our audiences, and we’re also very excited for a slate of programming.”

RTR Jami Powell, curator of Indigenous art, shared Kahl’s excitement about the Hood’s reopening celebration. She emphasized that even though the museum reopened to the public in August, she is looking forward to not having any visitor limitations. 

“This event is just really an opportunity for us to welcome the public back into our galleries,” Powell said. “But also to welcome students back to campus and back into the museum for public hours where they don't have to schedule an appointment to come and see the galleries.”

The event will be held in the North Plaza, Russo Atrium and Hood galleries, where curators and other staff members will be stationed inside to guide folks who come through and answer questions about the exhibitions on display. The official ceremony will be inaugurated by Stomberg and followed by musical performances from two student groups, The Barbaloot Suits Trio and The Sings. Rather than structuring the opening celebration as a formal tour, Powell said that they opted for an open gallery event to make the re-inauguration of the Hood more conversational.

Powell added that this open house event is a way to introduce the Class of 2025 to the museum and for other Dartmouth students who may not have had the opportunity to visit the galleries because of the pandemic to re-familiarize themselves with the College’s art collections.

Lauren Tan ’23 said she is looking forward to taking advantage of the Hood’s programming and exploring the art collections in person after studying remotely from home in Vietnam. While she was able to stay connected with the museum through its remote components, she said that she is excited to recreate the in-person experiences she missed the past year.

“Even though they were mostly hosted on Zoom, events such as the virtual storytime in the galleries allowed me to participate in the sharing of art stories from all over the world,” Tan said. “By leveraging the unique conditions of virtual activities, I was able to stay involved with the Hood all the way from Vietnam.”

Now that the Hood has opened to the public, Tan said she is excited to attend the fall opening celebration to reconnect with friends and engage with the creative outlets the museum has to offer.

“I’m looking forward to simply venturing into the galleries to discover something new with friends,” Tan said. “I’m also excited to attend writing workshops in person, as it’s a great way to relax in a creative space.”

Currently on view is “Form and Relation” –– a show curated by Powell and Morgan E. Freeman, a Diversifying Art Museum Leadership Initiative Native American Art Fellow. Powell said that “Form and Relation,” which showcases the works of six Indigenous artists, was supposed to go on view on March 14, 2020, but when the Hood closed on March 13 due to the pandemic, the museum decided to postpone this exhibition.

“The public hasn’t until now had an opportunity to see that installation,” Powell said. “A lot of that exhibition is thinking about clay as a medium that helps us think about our relation to place and to the land, and how we might reimagine our relationship to place and to non-human beings as one based on kinship or relational, rather than ownership and extraction.”

Powell hopes that in addition to the Hood’s new digital programming developed during the pandemic, the reopening of the Hood and the in-person events will allow the Dartmouth community to foster a greater appreciation for art on campus.

“I think that one of the positive things that has happened through the pandemic is that we've all been able to reflect,” Powell said. “We’ve become more introspective and reflective about our lives and the role that museums and other public institutions play in our lives for better or worse. And so, I think a lot of people have a newfound appreciation for things that they maybe took for granted before.”

Like Powell, Kahl hopes that this celebration will inspire the community to interrupt their days, which have been, until recently, largely lived on a screen.

“I think we’re all perhaps a little excited for some to see something new,” Kahl said. “I see a lot of repetition, a lot of routines. So we’re hoping people can come in and discover something, have a new experience, connect with a friend or a family member over some art and just have a great time.”

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