On June 14th, 2022, Cultural Heritage and Indigenous Knowledges Fellow Zachary Miller presented a talk titled Cultural Heritage Engagement at the Hood Museum of Art as part of Dartmouth’s Back to School sessions for Dartmouth alumni. Miller’s one hour lecture at the Hopkins Center featured recent Indigenous art acquisitions by the Hood Museum in the areas of contemporary art, photography, and ceramics. Zach also engaged participants in dialogue about the historical complexities of indigeneity and indigenous art. He shared examples of artwork that facilitated discussion about cultural erasure, appropriation, and the use of indigenous stereotypes in contemporary art. The evolving traditions of Indigenous art that carry cultural heritage creation into the future were also celebrated for their ability to directly translate experiences of cultural survival and frontline activism.
Miller featured new technologies in use at the Hood Museum of Art, including their Matterport 360 degree gallery scans of “Unbroken: Contemporary Native Ceramics” that enable visitation to the museum remotely from a web viewer that includes text labels and educationally engaging materials for visitors to interact with in a virtual space.
He also featured the Bernstein Center for Object Study (BCOS), a space provided by the Hood Museum for collections engagement that is primarily used for cross departmental teaching spaces. The BCOS is a place where students have the opportunity to engage with cultural heritage in a space that doesn’t trap artworks behind glass or stanchions, giving students the opportunity to use senses like touch or smell to learn about works in the collection.
Lastly, Zach spoke to attendees about the Mellon Advancing Pathways grant and the important work they are doing to connect on campus institutional collections and interface with regional Native American and First Nations communities. Focus on the Library and its collections was an important endpoint in the talk, given the connectedness of its manuscripts and archives with the artwork in the Hood Museum.