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CAA Joins Task Force on University Galleries and Museums

posted by Christopher Howard — Sep 01, 2009

In response to troubling trends in university museums and galleries—including the sale of Maier Art Museum paintings by Randolph College, the closure of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, and the threat of sale of important modernist works at Fisk University—a task force was formed that includes CAA, the American Association of Museums, the Association of Art Museum Directors, the Association of College and University Museums and Galleries, and the Kress Foundation to address ways to educate university trustees about the educational value of university museums and to explore protective avenues. A petition was circulated to various associations and also set up online, which received several thousand signatures—including many from CAA members. The petition will be published in the Chronicle of Higher Education later this fall. Quiet conversations are continuing with Brandeis trustees, and several university accreditation commissions have been apprised of the concerns of the task force and the visual-arts field.

On the same topic, caa.reviews recently published an essay entitled “Curricular Connections: The College/University Art Museum as Site for Teaching and Learning.” The author, Laurel Bradley, who is director of exhibitions and curator of the College Art Collection at Carleton College, provides a brief history of university museums and galleries since the mid-twentieth century before exploring several recent initiatives—some funded by the Mellon Foundation’s College and University Art Museum Program—that combine academic and curatorial teaching and education in novel, and often successful, ways.