With support from individuals, foundations, and federal agencies and institutes, the Ackland implements special projects in every department. In 2011, the Museum is working on three important, long-range projects that support our education and public service goals.
In 2011, with generous support from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the Ackland began a series of projects that engage graduate students at UNC-Chapel Hill in interpreting works of art in our collection. In each of the project years, teams of three graduate students — one in art history, one in education, and one in information and library science — work together. In keeping with the Kress Foundation’s priorities, the students focus on works of art selected from the Museum’s collection of European art from Classical antiquity through the mid-nineteenth century. Their task is to identify what makes the objects important and interesting and to communicate those ideas to intelligent, non-specialist audiences. These pages contain a sampling of the project teams’ work.
With generous support from the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the Ackland has established new goals for our work with University faculty and students. The Study Gallery, located on the second floor of the Museum, provides a flexible space for the installation of works of art that meet the needs of faculty from academic disciplines across campus. By creating this dedicated space, the Ackland makes the permanent collection more accessible to students for research projects, writing assignments, and course enhancement. In addition, this support has created new programs of outreach for course development and faculty engagement. In academic year 2011, Academic Programs engaged more than 10,000 student and faculty visitors in guided and self-guided tours.
With a prestigious award from the U.S. federal Institute for Museum and Library Services, the Ackland is in the process of creating a complete digital archive of the Ackland’s permanent collection (more than 17,000 works of art). This project uses state-of-the-art equipment to make each and every object searchable online by 2013. In creating the digital archive, the Museum also has the opportunity to establish new guidelines for metadata as we make the Collection available to an ever expanding circle of friends, scholars, collectors, art historians, and students worldwide.
Contrapposto and other Research Projects
The Samuel H. Kress Foundation has been a longtime supporter of museums across the country and the Ackland has received many years of generous support to research and present “Old Masters in Context.” Graduate students, senior staff members, and art historians have investigated objects held in the Collection and contextualized these works in installations and public programs.
Funds from the Eaton Bequest support on-going research on works in the Ackland collection created by American artists.