During the 2019–2020 academic year, eight Mount Holyoke College professors participated in a year-long faculty seminar in collaboration with the museum, and centered on art acquisition. Throughout the year, faculty members engaged in critical dialogue around the pedagogical needs of their classrooms and the resource of the collection, introducing art and material culture new to the museum that would support their teaching. At the same time, museum staff worked to demystify and democratize the acquisition process by providing a crash course in collection building alongside the museum’s collecting history, and by guiding the group in the acquisition process. Staff also joined with faculty in devising creative strategies for teaching with art in their courses more broadly.
At the close of the spring semester, and following much discussion and research, each participant selected a work to formally propose to the museum's acquisition committee. The art rotating in this gallery is the direct result of this successful process, a testament to those faculty member’s rigorous engagement in the seminar, and their dedication to expanding the collection in ways that are vitally important.