I have waited until now to be in touch and give you an update on the Museum because I wanted to provide you as much useful information as I can about the effects of COVID-19 on our current operations and what the likely impact is on our future.
Like the rest of the Middlebury campus, we are closed for the time being. In the coming weeks we are hopeful that at least some of our staff will be able to safely return to work. When the Museum will be able to reopen to the public remains unclear. Over the next few weeks we will be actively discussing changes to our exhibits, programs, and enhanced online presence for the 2020–2021 academic year and as soon as we have more complete information I will share that with you.
For the time being our staff is working remotely. We are busily at work on a number of projects, including our new collections database, which we anticipate will be publicly accessible by late summer. We are also assembling the last bits of data for our permanent collection handbook and anticipate it will be published in the spring of 2021.
At present, Jason Vrooman, our chief curator and director of engagement, is working with Mikki Lane, coordinator of events and programs, to put the final touches on this summer’s MuseumWorks paid internship program for Middlebury students. This will be the sixth year of the program and the first where participants will be working entirely online.
I am also delighted to report that recently we received support from the Sabarsky Foundation to appoint Sarah Briggs ’14.5 as our Sabarsky Fellow for another year. She will play a key role in helping the Museum expand our digital resources and increase our online presence.
Along with Sarah Laursen, Assistant Professor of the History of Art and Architecture and our curator of Asian art, Sarah Briggs has created Vermont Art Online as a portal that enables families, students, educators, and the public to enjoy Vermont’s museums and galleries in these difficult times.
So, despite the challenges we all face in the coming months, those of us working at the Museum are optimistic that there will be some exciting and fruitful opportunities to stay in touch with all of you in meaningful ways.
We hope that you’ve had a chance to explore the email me directly.
Please stay safe and secure and we look forward to welcoming you back to the Museum, in person, when that is possible.
Professor, History of Art and Architecture