Designed by Charles W. Moore and Chad Floyd in 1985, the Hood Museum of Art is home to some 65,000 objects – among the largest and oldest college or university collections in the United States. Unlike traditional art institutions, the Hood is a teaching museum, dedicated to cultivating direct engagement with its visitors and works of art. Due to its age, the building required numerous repairs and upgrades in order to effectively house artworks. Increased programming necessitated additional administrative offices and gallery space. The museum’s mission had also evolved to embrace its teaching component, for which there was no proper space.
Dartmouth College selected us to lead the expansion and renovation of the museum. The project includes five additional galleries, a multipurpose lobby, and the revamped Bernstein Center for Object-Based Inquiry: three large classrooms that use technology to aid in students’ and faculty’s research of objects in the collection. A new facade enhances the Hood’s presence on East Wheelock Street, making the building increasingly visible and welcoming to all.
As a teaching museum, the Hood’s connection with art is much more intimate. The design encourages a sense of curiosity by as much direct contact as possible. We kept the major existing galleries in tact while simplifying details and updating the building envelope and various systems to maximize efficiency. An atrium above the flexible lobby space connects the museum and Bernstein Center, creating an open, accessible space for the entire Dartmouth community. Active and filled with light, it is used for installation art, performances, and digital programming while simultaneously providing a place for students to study and learn.