Shelly Cao ’23 gives a tour as a Wellin Docent
Hamilton showcased its Curatorial Studies Program on Feb. 12 with an information session featuring representatives from area museums. The new initiative, funded through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, will give students interdisciplinary, hands-on experiences with museum curating that may lead to potential careers, summer internships, and research fellowships.

As someone interested in the arts, Communications Office student writer Clara Bennett-Jones ’27 had the opportunity to attend the information session. Here are five things she learned:

  1. The Exploration of Diverse and Underrepresented Artists

Among many things, the program is dedicated to highlighting the work of underrepresented artists. In particular, Stephen Harrison, director and chief curator of the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, discussed Munson’s summer diversity internship dedicated to increasing diversity within the museum field and welcoming new perspectives on art interpretation and surveys of diverse audiences. Likewise, Julia Madore, associate curator of American art at Fenimore Art Museum, stressed the museum’s goal of preserving, engaging, and educating visitors in order to connect people to their shared cultural heritage through exhibitions.

  1. The Opportunity to Work with Primary Source Materials

The program offers experiential learning opportunities with hands-on involvement with collections, including a variety of primary source material. Christian Goodwillie, director and curator of special collections and archives at Hamilton’s Burke Library, discussed a variety of opportunities to work with manuscripts that document over 200 years of history of Hamilton. Primary sources also include the contemporary exhibits found in the College’s own Wellin Museum of Art. According to Assistant Curator of Exhibitions and Academic Outreach Alexander Jarman, exhibitions are focused on contemporary artists whose work is specifically of interest to the Hamilton community.

  1. Compelling and Cross-Disciplinary Exhibitions and Experiences

Though grounded in the humanities, the program expands through interdisciplinary and experiential partnerships in order to broaden students’ horizons. The Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology (MOST), for example, is dedicated to interactivity and alignment to science learning standards. Emily Steward, director of education and curation, discussed this program’s hands-on science and technology focus and emphasized its role as an education center.

  1. The Chance to Harness an Interest in the Arts into a Specific Passion

Opportunities at the Everson Museum are open to students with a diversity of interests in all forms of art. Garth Johnson, curator of ceramics at the Everson Museum of Art, explained that this program allows students to “wear a number of different hats” and pursue a wide variety of duties and visions. The Everson, Johnson said, is dedicated to harnessing that interest and helping students find their unique passion.

  1. Working Directly with Professionals to Form a Deeper Connection to Art

The Curatorial Studies Program will introduce students to a variety of professional roles associated with curation. Project Director and Professor of History Thomas Wilson described it as an opportunity to not only learn new skills, but to think about how to interpret art and the humanities for a wider audience. Involvement with this program will allow students to work directly with professionals and learn how to become better acquainted and form a deeper connection with art and the museums’ collections.

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