Hood Museum Reopens at Dartmouth

John Hill
5. February 2019
Photo: Robert Gill © Trustees of Dartmouth College

The Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire recently opened its renovated and expanded facilities designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects.

The original Hood Museum of Art opened on Dartmouth's Hanover campus in 1985, designed by Charles Moore as a 40,000-square-foot building in a restrained yet distinctive Postmodern style. The TWBTA design, even more restrained, has preserved and renovated parts of the Moore design, resulting in a 65,000-sf expansion with approximately 40% more exhibition space across 16 galleries. A portion of a former outdoor space embraced by Moore's building was internalized as a lobby and atrium in the renovation and expansion.

New lobby and atrium (Photo: Michael Moran, courtesy of the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth)

The $50 million project was predicated on "an increased demand from students and faculty to gain deeper access to the Hood’s collections [approximately 65,000 objects] through more and improved galleries and classrooms," per a statement from Dartmouth. In turn the museum comprises two floors of public exhibition spaces and study galleries, administrative offices on the third floor, and a lower level for object storage and exhibition preparation, but also the Bernstein Center for Object Study, which occupies three study galleries located off the new atrium.

A view into the renovated galleries from the new atrium (Photo: Michael Moran, courtesy of the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth)

Tod Williams, quoted in the Dartmouth statement, spoke about the relationship between new and old: "We have worked closely with the team at the Hood Museum and Dartmouth College to design a progressive teaching museum while preserving many of the distinctive features of the Charles Moore building. The conversation throughout has been both pedagogical and architectural. The renovation of and addition to the existing Hood creates a complementary dialogue between old and new..."

A view of the three "smart study" galleries in the Bernstein Center for Object Study (Photo: Michael Moran, courtesy of the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth)

TWBTA's additions are clad in off-white brick, which was selected "to be in complementary conversation" with the Moore building's Flemish brick walls and those of its other neighbors: the traditional red-brick Wilson Hall (1884, visible in top photo) and modernist Hopkins Center (Wallace K. Harrison, 1962). The exterior palette extends to the atrium, where more brick is found, and to the galleries, which are marked by white and gray surfaces.

A renovated gallery on the second floor (Photo: Michael Moran, courtesy of the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth)

Closed from March 2016 until January 26, 2019, the Hood Museum of Art reopened with exhibitions on contemporary photography, African art, and postwar art in New York, Paris, and Tokyo, among other shows.

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