We look forward to your visit to the Middlebury College Museum of Art. In order to make your visit more enjoyable and productive, please note the following information:
Preparation for Museum Visits
It is important to prepare your students for their visit. We will provide you with guidelines in advance of your visit, which you ask you to share with your class.
In addition, educational resources may be available to help you prepare for your class visit to the Museum. To inquire about possible teaching resources and/or to discuss strategies to prepare your students for their visit, please contact Curator of Education Jason Vrooman at email@example.com (preferred) or (802) 443-2248.
We have found that students appreciate knowing the following guidelines before they arrive at the Museum.
- Students on guided tours will be greeted and introduced to the theme of the exhibition either in the Simonds Study Gallery, a small room used for educational purposes, or in the exhibition gallery (depending upon available space). We will provide clipboards and pencils for writing and sketching activities. (Please let us know in advance if you would like to use these materials for self-guided visits.)
- Only pencils may be used in the Museum. Students who forget to bring a pencil may borrow one from the Reception desk.
- No one should be eating food or chewing gum during the Museum visit.
- Videotaping is not permitted in the Museum. Photography is not allowed in special exhibitions.
- We will provide you with information on “Why We Ask You Not to Touch,” which you must share with your students before they arrive at the Museum.
- We reserve the right to ask a student who is not following the guidelines to not participate in the class visit. We will ask the teacher or chaperone to stay with the student in the lobby until the visit is over.
We like to call students by their first names. Please make a large, easy-to-read name tag for each student in your group. We would also appreciate name tags for teachers and adult chaperones.
In order to enhance the Museum experience for all ages and abilities, please describe (on the reverse side of the confirmation form) any special education needs in your group: physical, sensory, behavioral, and/or cognitive. Please contact us if you have any questions or would like more information. The Center for the Arts and Museum are physically accessible.
Public restrooms are located in the Lower Lobby (just to the right of Rehearsals Cafe).
Limited bag-lunch facilities are available for school groups only with advance reservation.
Guided Tours are limited to twenty-five (25) students.
We request that you have at least two adults with each group of twenty-five students. Teachers and chaperones should be present during the visit and should understand that we expect their help with activities and student behavior.
If you must cancel your visit for any reason, please notify the Museum as soon as possible.
Tours of the Museum
If you would like to view other exhibitions, look at specific works of art on display, or have an introductory tour of the Museum during your visit, please let us know ahead of time.
The Middlebury College Museum of Art is located in the Mahaney Center for the Arts, on the east side of Route 30. Buses and cars should unload students behind the Center near the plaza and then park in the parking lot. School groups can enter the Center for the Arts at the plazas entrance or the entrance closest to the parking lot.
Welcome to the Middlebury College Museum of Art. As an integral component of the College’s educational mission the Museum makes its resources available to the faculty and students of Middlebury College, as well as to staff of other educational institutions in the area, and to the general public. We encourage you to make frequent use of our collections and exhibitions in your courses and research.
See the Class Visit Request Form.
The Museum Collection
The Museum’s permanent collection of several thousand objects ranges from ancient through contemporary art, and includes collections of Asian art, Cypriot pottery, seventeenth- to twenty first-century European and American sculpture and painting, photography, and prints. The Museum displays works from the permanent collection as well as loan exhibitions throughout the year.
Using the Museum in Your Teaching
The Museum’s schedule is generally determined several years in advance, so faculty can include future exhibitions when planning courses. We are also able to co-sponsor, by pre-arrangement, lectures and other events to coincide with our exhibitions and your courses, and we welcome faculty collaboration in arranging such programs.
Many courses have already used the collection or temporary exhibitions in their course syllabi, including first-year writing seminars and courses in studio art, the history of art and architecture, English, American literature, American civilization, classics, dance, history, religion, environmental studies, theatre, women’s studies, and foreign languages. On occasion the Museum also hosts and co-sponsors events with individual Commons as well as student groups. We encourage you to visit the Museum and to let us know how we may assist you in using our outstanding resources.
Before You Visit
Objects on view change throughout the academic year, so we advise you to check with our staff before planning a visit or assigning a paper on a particular object or exhibition.
If you will be giving assignments that require students to visit the Museum, please be sure to read and to have your students read our “Policies for Museum Visiting.” which can be found here on our website and at the reception desk of the Museum. We will gladly send them to you upon request. Further, if your students are expected to complete a course assignment using the Museum’s resources it is strongly advised that you alert us by sending a copy or description of any such assignment.
If you will be drawing heavily on the collection, please consult us before you plan your course syllabus. This will allow us to anticipate your needs and to plan with you. We also ask that you send us a copy of your syllabus as soon as it is available.
- Scheduling class visits and student assignments: Please call the Museum’s Coordinator of Events, Membership, and Academic Outreach at ext. 2309 to schedule class visits. This will allow us to confirm that what you want to see is on view, and it will also avoid conflicts with other groups who have already made appointments to visit the Museum. We require advance notice of at least two weeks. Please Note: It may be necessary to schedule another group or class in the museum at the same time you have requested your visit. If the group or class plans to be in an adjacent gallery to where you will be teaching we will notify you in advance.
- Classroom use: The Simonds Study Gallery is a classroom space in the Museum that can accommodate up to twenty people. It is open during museum hours, Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and it is equipped with slide projectors, an overhead projector, an LCD projector, and a display wall for viewing works of art. Courses and meetings are scheduled in the study gallery throughout the year; it is also available for one-time class use. By pre-arrangement the room may also be used for displaying works of art not on public view. Use of the room must be scheduled in advance. To do so please contact the Museum’s Coordinator of Events, Membership, and Academic Outreach by phone at 443-2309 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To schedule regular or frequent use of Simonds Study Gallery please contact both your department coordinator and the Museum’s Coordinator of Events, Membership, and Academic Outreach either by phone at 443-2309 or via email at email@example.com at least two weeks in advance of the Banner deadline for each semester.
- Selecting works for class visits and student assignments: The Chief Curator is available by appointment to help you select works for class study or assignment. She can be reached either by phone at 443-2240 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Call the Museum Registrar at 443-5482 or email email@example.com for access to lists of works in the permanent collection. We will try to make available the works you request, either by including them in exhibitions in our permanent collection galleries or by installing them temporarily in Simonds Study Gallery.
Temporary installation of an object in Simonds Study Gallery (either for class visits or for individual student viewing during open hours) requires three weeks notice. This advance notice is critical, as objects often have to be framed or mounted for installation. Please contact the Museum Registrar either by phone at 443-5482 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule objects for viewing in the Simonds Study Gallery.
Inclusion of an object in the permanent collection galleries (where it might remain on view for the duration of a course) requires several months notice and must be discussed with the museum staff during the semester prior to its scheduled occurrence. Please contact the Registrar either by phone at 443-5482 or via email at email@example.com if you are interested in this opportunity.
- Individual student visits: All students may visit the Museum during normal operating hours to view works on exhibit. Appointments are required, however, for access to museum records, works in storage, or for consultations with staff.
- Visits to copy or sketch: Class visits to copy or sketch works of art, like all other class visits to the Museum, should be scheduled in advance. The use of pens is allowed in the Museum’s galleries, but not in Simonds Study Gallery. Pencils and stools are available at the reception desk. Please call the Museum Receptionist at ext. 2291 to reserve them.
Use of Museum Records
Students in museum studies courses or in other disciplines—including history, American civilization, or foreign languages, for example—may want to do research on a particular work in the collection. In order to have access to Museum records, students must make an appointment with the Museum Registrar either by phone at 443-5482 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is important for faculty to notify the Registrar if they plan to make such an assignment. Since it is not always possible for the Registrar to provide access to records on short notice, please advise your students to plan ahead if they will require such assistance.
Borrowing Reproductions of Museum Objects
Slides, jpeg images, photographs, and transparencies of many (though not all) Museum objects are available for use in courses. The Slide Library in the Johnson Memorial Building has a separate slide catalog of objects in the Museum, and these reproductions are available for loan. (Contact the Slide Library directly at ext. 5233.) The Museum has additional slides, but cannot lend its originals. Duplicates, if not available, can be made at a cost of $3.50 each, and require a minimum of three weeks notice. If a reproduction does not exist and is needed for teaching, faculty should make a written request to have an object photographed before the beginning of the semester so that the Museum can consolidate all such requests into one photography shoot. All slides loaned to faculty must be returned as soon as possible, and no later than two weeks after the end of the course. The Slide Library also has information about ArtStor, an online database of images to which the College subscribes.
All photography arrangements with the Museum are handled by the Registrar.
Exhibitions and Events
Please check our website, the current Museum Exhibitions and Events brochure, the Arts at Middlebury College, or Middlebury This Week for current information about exhibitions and events. If you have further questions, please call the Museum Receptionist at 443-2291.
General Student and Public Groups
We hope you enjoy your visit to the Middlebury College Museum of Art. We ask you to observe the following guidelines in order to help preserve and protect the works of art for future visitors.
- Please leave backpacks, large handbags, and umbrellas in the cubbies, lockable storage compartments and umbrella stand in the Museum vestibule.
- Please stay at least one foot away from the works of art and refrain from gesturing or pointing at the art, particularly with pencils or brochures. Help preserve the presentation of the objects by not touching the Plexiglas or leaning on the walls or pedestals.
- Please supervise your children. Young children should be accompanied by an adult at all times. Strollers are permitted, but we ask that no children be allowed to push them.
- Please do not bring food or drink into the Museum.
- Photography is permitted except where noted. Tripods and monopods are not permitted.
- Sketching in the Museum is permitted with pencils or pens only. Artists who wish to use easels or wet materials must contact the Registrar’s office, (802) 443-5482, for advance permission.
We thank you for your cooperation and hope that you enjoy your visit.
Why We Ask You Not to Touch
Museum visitors are sometimes puzzled and irritated when asked not to touch works of art. It can be understood that hard bumps and knocks may be damaging, but after all, what harm can a careful touch do?
Although they may not appear to be so, works of art in museums are often very fragile. Wood may look solid and substantial, but it is actually quite porous. If it is touched by a human hand, which normally conveys a certain amount of surface oil and dirt, that oil and dirt sinks into the surface of the wood and is difficult to remove without harming the art object. Stone, fabric, and other materials are similarly sensitive.
Brass, like all metals, corrodes. If a brass handle or surface is touched by a human hand, the normal salt in perspiration forms a deposit which can lead to a particularly destructive corrosion. If allowed to go unchecked, such corrosion can destroy a brass piece.
Even though it does not appear to cause damage at the time, light finger pressure can cause the sensitive paint layer of a painting to crack, which in time can cause part of it to fall off.
Food and beverages are also hostile to works of art. We do not permit them in the Museum, because if they come into contact with works of art they can cause irreparable damage to an object’s surface. Also, many of the loans involved in visiting exhibitions require us to prohibit food and drink in the Museum. Our own collection, as well, is rapidly growing in importance and we wish to treat it with equal respect.
We in the Museum are only the caretakers of the College’s art collection. We ask you to help us preserve it for the benefit of all our future visitors.