Re-examining the museum

Re-examining the museum

Reflections on a Museum is a re-presentation of the Williams College Museum of Art’s collection. Conceived at the outset to be experimental and evolving, this project is a re-examination of the collection that raises questions about the role of a museum on a liberal arts campus.

The museum inaugurated this project in April 2011 with the presentation of eight exhibitions across nearly the entire museum. Each exhibition looks at a different aspect of museum practice and asks viewers to consider the role of the museum. Working in collaborative groups, staff at the museum tackled questions such as: Who owns the past? How are objects transformed into art? Does an artist’s choice of medium convey meaning? How does the story of an object change when the storyteller changes?

The project features 50 major works on loan from the Yale University Art Gallery, as well as rarely seen works (and old favorites) from WCMA’s collection of over 13,000 objects.

“This reinstallation mixes artworks of different media from various time periods and places as a reflection of the deepest levels of our value system,” says John Stomberg, former chief curator and deputy director at the museum. “The museum, with its diverse collections, can be a microcosm of the college’s efforts to reflect a world community on campus.”

To see more about this project, watch the gallery tours here.