The Pomona College Museum of Art (PCMA) is at the core of Pomona College’s liberal arts education, making the visual arts an essential part of the experience of all students. It achieves this by integrating the visual arts into the broader intellectual and disciplinary context of the College.
By presenting contemporary and historic works of art for exhibition and study, and placing those works in context, the museum engages, instructs and delights visitors from a range of audiences. Its collections are a teaching resource, emphasizing first-hand conversation with art objects as a tool for increasing visual literacy and investigating the diversity of human experience. The museum encourages active learning and creative explorations across disciplines.
Teaching extends from instruction on the significance and qualities of artworks from the collection and on exhibition, to the open display of mechanical systems required for art storage, to direct access to museum staff. Included are galleries, which allow students and classes to work as curators on exhibitions connected to the curriculum. The students see not only the collections but what it takes to direct and curate in a world-class institution.
The new museum will regularly offer exhibitions that are not usually available to the communities it serves on campus and beyond. These exhibitions will also benefit the economy of the City of Claremont, as the museum currently attracts more than 18,000 visitors a year.
An element of the museum’s connection to the community is the outreach program to Claremont Unified School District (CUSD) based in the College’s Native American Study Center Collection. This program invites every third-grade classroom in CUSD to campus to study Pomona College’s collection up close. Since 2013, the museum has offered classroom lessons, directed activities during collection visits, and post-visit classroom lessons to more than 1,200 third-graders. The new facility is specifically designed to host these programs and will allow the museum to expand its outreach to other grade levels and school districts, with a special focus on Title 1 schools.