Beyond Wellesley: sneak peek at renovated Hood Museum at Dartmouth College

I recently was let in for a sneak peek at the newly renovated and rebuilt Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Joining me on the guided tour of the 62,000 square-foot building was a bunch of big-dawg types from places like The Guggenheim, Architectural Digest, The Boston Globe, and others, all eager to see the three-story building designed by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. Working within a tight footprint, the husband-and-wife team nearly doubled the exhibition spaces and greatly expanded the teaching areas. They did it partly by playing a giant game of Tetris, moving some walls walls and reconfiguring galleries, and partly by snitching space from an interior courtyard.

I hadn’t been into The Hood since just before it closed almost three years ago for for the $50 million expansion and renovation project. Back then visitors slipped in through a tucked-away entrance, and toured galleries that cried out for natural light. Now visitors boldly walk through an entrance that opens up onto the Dartmouth Green. Natural light pours into galleries in which the art benefits from brightness, but many galleries remain windowless to protect sensitive works.

Join me on my tour of Dartmouth’s newest building:

Hood Museum, Dartmouth College
Architects Billie Tsien (left) and Tod Williams deliver remarks at the press preview of the Hood Museum of Art, located on the campus of Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Hood Museum, Dartmouth College
An installation of post-war art in the Hood’s new Northeast Gallery. The work at the far right is a recent acquisition, Wind Dancing With Spring Flowers, by American artist Alma Woodsey Thomas.

Hood Museum, Dartmouth College
A view across the renovated second-floor galleries, which feature installations of contemporary African art, Melanesian art, and contemporary Aboriginal Australian art. The acrylic and oil on canvas, left, is a recent acquisition by Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga titled L’attitude face a la Mondialisation (Attitudes Towards Globalization). 

Hood Museum, Dartmouth College
A view from the second-floor staircase to the lobby. It gets cold up in Hanover, and Dartmouth students have historically used the lobby of the Hood as a cut-through from one part of campus to the next. The renovation kept that feature partly as a way to avoid a potential uprising of students distraught over having to walk all the way around the building, and partly to send a welcoming message.

Hood Museum, Dartmouth College
“The $50 million it took to make the Hood project happen was funded 100% through philanthropy,” says John Stomberg, Museum Director. The museum has over 65,000 works in its collection.

Hood Museum, Dartmouth College
American art from the Hood’s permanent collection in the new second-floor galleries.

Hood Museum, Dartmouth College
Bob Haozous, Apache Pull-Toy, 1988, painted steel.

Hood Museum, Dartmouth College
Front entrance of the Hood, which opens directly onto the Dartmouth Green. The museum now has two floors of public exhibition spaces and study galleries, a third floor for administrative offices, and a lower level for object storage and exhibition preparation. The Hood was originally designed by architect Charles Moore, and it opened in 1985. See this New York Times story for more on Moore (deceased in 1993), and the Charles Moore Foundation’s less-than-enthusiastic response to the changes. Photo credit: Arifa Toor

 

 

 

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