The Writing's on the Wall

Director, John Stromberg, with the Community Portrait Director, John Stromberg, with the Community Portrait Photo: Alison Palizzolo
The Writing's on the Wall Photo: Alison Palizzolo
The Writing's on the Wall Photo: Rob Strong

When the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College closed its doors for an approximately three year renovation, they decided to throw a party. A really BIG party. All of the museum's art had been moved to storage for safe keeping, leaving behind an empty museum with lots of space to get creative. The entire community was invited to attend the event. Activities and entertainment began in the afternoon and lasted well into the evening.

Our director, John Stromberg says that "one of the keys to education is making a mess." He and the museum staff saw the empty museum as an opportunity to invite the public to do just that. Over 1600 people came to make art in our now empty gallery space.

There were music and dance performances by Dartmouth College groups as well as delicious food provided by local vendors. There were movies to watch, materials to build your own sculpture, a paint by number mural and much, much more. The evening culminated with a dance party under the black lights.

The Hood Docents acted as facilitators for the art making activities. Positioned at stations throughout the museum, we worked with children and adults as they created their own works of art.

The goal of the party was to make members of the local and college communities aware of the Hood's closing. It was also an opportunity to let them know that although the museum will be closed, that, as John Stromberg states "the enterprise that is the Hood will not go dark." The Hood Downtown, a gallery space located among the shops and restaurants in downtown Hanover, NH, opened its doors in September. It will remain open throughout the museum's closure to ensure that the Hood continues to be a vital part of the Upper Valley and Dartmouth communities. We, docents, are thrilled to be welcoming adults and children for ongoing tours and programming throughout the museum's closure as we await the completion of the renovations to the Hood Museum of Art.

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