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Pomona College Museum of Art Awarded $50,000 Mellon Planning Grant

To support Pomona College’s commitment to the arts and the goal of strengthening the role of the Pomona College Museum of Art on campus and in academic life, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded the College a $50,000 Mellon Planning Grant.

The grant will help support a planning effort already underway to transform and integrate the role of the Museum and its collections and exhibitions more deeply into the curriculum at Pomona.

A core planning group, comprised of faculty from the sciences, social sciences, humanities and intercollegiate programs, are considering innovative ways to fully engage the Museum across the disciplines consistently. The group is working from an analysis of how resources are currently used at Pomona, and what is being done elsewhere.  On a bimonthly basis, the group—which includes Dara Regaignon (English/Writing Center), Dwight Whitaker (physics), Samuel Yamashita (history), Jill Grigsby (sociology), Frances Pohl (art history) and Matthew Delmont (American studies, Scripps)— meets with Museum Director Kathleen Howe and Curator of Academic Programs Terri Geis to review best practices in the field and to develop models suited to Pomona’s culture. 

“The ideas that come out of these conversations will be test-driven with larger faculty groups from which we hope to come up with two or three solid pilot projects,” said Howe. “The Mellon Foundation’s support has given us the space to explore outside the box ideas…we've had interesting ‘what if’ conversations that are stretching our ideas of the possible. The Foundation’s interest and encouragement set the stage for an exciting process that, we think, will lead to innovative projects. ”

Included in this planning are a series of site visits to model institutions. Some group members attended the “Visual Learning: Transforming the Liberal Arts” conference at Carleton College in September and visited the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College this month.

An independent museum specialist and former curator of academic programs at Williams College recently discussed case studies with the core group, highlighting successful academic programs at college museums. Further planning activities over the course of the next year include meetings with the architects for the transformation of the Seeley-Mudd Science Library into the new campus museum, workshops, presentations to the College’s Teaching and Learning Committee and a 5C symposium.