In celebration of its five-year anniversary, the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art presents an exhibition of 140 works of art and cultural objects drawn from its permanent collection. The diversity of the exhibition reflects that of the collection itself, which contains art and artifacts in a number of mediums from a variety of cultures and eras, ranging from 1300 BCE to the present. Works on view include Ancient Greek vases, glass from the Roman Empire, Mesoamerican ceramics, Native American objects of material culture, as well as historical and contemporary prints, drawings, photography, sculpture and painting. The title of this exhibition, Innovative Approaches, Honored Traditions, reflects a multivalent perspective: on the one hand looking back at Hamilton’s long history of art collecting and rotating exhibitions as well as its educational mission; on the other developing new exhibitions, supporting original scholarship, and crafting a permanent collection on the cutting edge of the field.
As a teaching museum and a laboratory for experimentation, the Wellin aims to inspire curiosity and interconnectivity among a range of academic disciplines. Innovative Approaches, Honored Traditions encourages visitors to draw upon their own knowledge and experiences to arrive at insightful and challenging interpretations of the works in the Wellin Museum’s collection. By calling attention to the multifaceted nature of art and the layers of meaning it often contains, the exhibition demonstrates the parallels between the Wellin Museum’s collecting philosophy and the liberal arts experience overall, which brings together so many modes of learning and areas of study.