We talked to the director of the Hood about the magnificent new renovations

They are going to look amazing

The Hood Museum recently announced a $50 million expansion. The Hood is set to become a world class art center, one of the highlights of Dartmouth’s architecture.

The Tab sat down with John Stomberg, the director of Hood, to learn a little more about the renovations.

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John Stomberg, director of the Hood Museum of Art, mastermind behind the renovations

How long did/will it take to get funding for the project?

The group raising funds for the museum has been working for a few years already and are continuing their efforts at present. We will need to have the vast majority of the funding fully committed before the construction begins, per Dartmouth’s policy for capital projects.

How long have you all been planning these renovations?

Serious planning began about five years ago.

Out of all of the renovations, what are you most excited for?

There are four majors areas of excitement: the new Hood will boast a Center for Object-Based Inquiry that will consist of three high-tech classrooms for teaching with art; there will be five new galleries to display art publicly; there will be a wonderful concourse area for casual gatherings; and there will be a suite of offices that will allow the museum staff to work more closely together.

When will the renovations begin?

The project is scheduled to begin in July.

When are they set to be completed?

We hope to be reopening the museum in early 2019.

What are the top three changes these renovations will bring to campus?

We are currently limited in how many classes can use the art museum. With the renovation, there will be three times as many classes running at any moment. This is the import of the Center for Object-Based Inquiry; it will make a huge difference in how faculty and students interact with the museum and its collections.

The new galleries will allow for a significantly better representation of the collection to be on view. The Hood Museum of Art has approximately 65,000 objects from across the globe and through over 6,000 years history. Having more space will allow the curators to share more of this important global art collection.

The third great aspect will be the concourse, which will be open the same hours as the Hopkins Center, making it an attractive place to meet friends. It will also house performances, poetry readings, concerts, dance, and so forth. The hope is that it becomes a favorite spot to gather for impromptu activities as well as organized events.

The design plans look so beautiful, can you talk a little bit about the process of finding an architect and finalizing the design? Are you all happy with the design?

We could not be happier with the plans. It was a very tough project to design, as the Hood is closely surrounded by other important buildings, including the Hopkins Center, Wilson Hall, and the Black Family Visual Arts Center. For this project, we needed architects who could re-conceptualize what the possibilities for the space could be and not just design an addition. Tod Williams and Billie Tsien are the perfect choice for this commission, and their plans are brilliant, combining careful reuse of the existing spaces with the construction of new building elements.

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Model of the renovations

Will the construction process be disturbing to students in the area? (i.e. Wilson Hall, surrounding dorms)

The project team is planning now to make sure that the disturbances are kept to a minimum and that the hours for construction are limited. There are plans for re-routing pedestrian traffic and every effort is being made to be considerate of the Hood’s many neighbors.

Who is the mastermind behind the renovations? In other words, whose idea was it originally?

I believe that former Hood Director Brian Kennedy got the ball rolling, but the project has evolved a long way since that time.

What has the process of getting funding been like? Who is responsible for fundraising and what strategies do they use?

Dartmouth has a fundraising department that has spearheaded these efforts while working closely with the museum’s staff and its Board of Overseers—all of whom have committed to the project. The strategy is fairly direct: share with potential donors the project and all that it will bring to the intellectual and social life at Dartmouth. The merits are so evident, and the project so exciting, that it has generated a lot of donor appeal.