The first few months of the year have already flown by, but we’ve been busy here at NOMA. If you’ve visited the museum within the past few months, perhaps you’ve noticed that certain galleries have been closed at different times. This was due to a massive renovation—thanks to the hard work and support of many individuals, we were recently able to unveil new hardwood floors in our galleries. If you’ve been upstairs to our modern and contemporary wing, you’ve noticed even more drastic changes. This major rethinking of our gallery spaces is part of an ongoing effort to restructure our exhibitions and collections.
As stewards of art, it is important that we continuously search for fresh, inventive ways of presenting our permanent collection to the public. Whether you’re just in town for one of the many festivals of the season, or a member who lives locally and visits every month, each museum experience is a new opportunity for learning and interpretation.
Behind the scenes, our staff has been hard at work organizing and rethinking many aspects of NOMA’s collection. Our goal is to increase accessibility to the public, and eventually create narratives in our permanent collection installations that will allow visitors to draw connections to works that they might not have previously seen. Later this year, you can look forward to viewing objects in the collection that have not been on view for, in some cases, over twenty years. Stay tuned for those updates. I encourage you to visit the museum this year and witness these visible changes for yourself. Hopefully, we will show you something new about an object you’ve never seen, or always admired.
In addition to these changes, there are many exciting projects on NOMA’s horizon this year. I am thrilled to introduce NOMA→CAC, a new partnership between NOMA and the Contemporary Arts Center. This collaboration has the potential to engage NOMA’s audiences with contemporary art in a new setting. Brilliant Disguise, curated by our own Miranda Lash, is the first manifestation of the project.
The highlight of the spring schedule is NOMA’s presentation of Inventing the Modern World, an exhibition that showcases some of the most beautiful, innovative decorative arts featured in the world’s fairs from 1851-1939. New Orleans has a distinctive role in the exhibition’s national tour: it is the only city to have actually hosted a world’s fair (two actually!). Those of you who remember the 1984 World’s Fair in New Orleans, or any others of recent history, know the significance and grandeur of these events. And they were fun too! Family Day on April 20—“Meet Me at the Fair”—will be a chance to revel in that nostalgia and share a day at the fair with people of all ages while celebrating both tradition and innovation. The exhibition is inspiration for our educational activities, drawing connections between ideas and objects, art and innovation, and the celebration of man’s ingenuity at every moment in the history of the world’s fairs. I invite you to view these treasures at NOMA and share your own memories of these splendid occasions with us.
Susan M. Taylor
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