Williamstown, MA—Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) is pleased to launch a new, digital guide on Bloomberg Connects, the free arts and cultural app created by Bloomberg Philanthropies. The Bloomberg Connects app, available for download from Google Play or the App Store, makes WCMA accessible for either onsite or offsite visits through multimedia features that offer insights into the museum’s collection, exhibitions, and vibrant teaching and learning mission.
Guide highlights include an exhibition tour of Mary Ann Unger: To Shape a Moon from Bone, in the form of six short videos with guest curator Horace D. Ballard, the Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., Associate Curator of American Art, Harvard Art Museums. Ballard offers an overview of the installation, deep dives into several important works by Mary Ann Unger (1945–1998), and tells the story of how the monographic exhibition’s poetic subtitle came to be.
Museum visitors can also experience WCMA’s signature gallery-classroom Object Lab in behind-the-scenes fashion with video stops for a selection of the artworks on view. Object Lab is a semester-long installation of objects chosen by Williams College professors for close study with students. The Fall 2022 edition features courses in Latinx Studies, Computer Science, Feminist Poetry, World Architecture, Sociology, and more. Elizabeth Gallerani, Curator of Mellon Academic Programs and curator of Object Lab, discusses works by artists including Shimon Attie, Titus Kaphar, and Lordy Rodriguez, in the contexts of how they are being taught with through an interdisciplinary lens and what kinds of student projects they are inspiring.
Recent acquisitions are featured in the mobile guide, such as Guadalupe Maravilla’s Disease Thrower #10, Allison Janae Hamilton’s Wacissa and Alligator Creature, and Mildred Thompson’s Advancing Impulses, all of which were brought into the collection through the work of students in the popular Williams College course Acquiring Art: Selecting and Purchasing Art for WCMA. The app also offers access to 3-D digital models of works on view, allowing a visitor to virtually pick up an ancient jaguar whistle, for example, and examine it from all angles. New content is added regularly as exhibitions change, collection research continues, and as artists, scholars, and others engage with the museum and share their perspectives.
Stephanie Dockery, a Williams College alumna who works for Bloomberg Philanthropies, reached out to WCMA earlier this year with an invitation to create a digital guide for the museum on Bloomberg’s arts and culture app. “We were really delighted by the prospect of joining Bloomberg Connects’ growing roster of international museums, galleries, and cultural spaces—as well as the chance to be the first college art museum on the app,” says Pamela Franks, the Class of 1956 Director of the Williams College Museum of Art. “The guide allows us to increase the visibility of our global collection as well as our mission, such that people who may never travel to our beautiful campus still get a sense of place through the app, where we can show virtually how art is central to a liberal arts education and to lifelong learning. For museum visitors, it is our hope that the digital guide will enrich their experience, feed their curiosity, and facilitate their own forming of connections with and among the objects on view.”
Serving as the project lead for the development of the digital guide has been an ideal fit for Beth Fischer, WCMA’s Postdoctoral Fellow for Digital Humanities. Fischer’s work centers on how technology—including advanced imaging techniques and collection data research—can enhance close study of objects and increase our understanding of historical contexts as well as contemporary issues. The app contains examples of various digital projects Fischer has spearheaded in collaboration with colleagues, students, and faculty, and more of this ongoing research will be shared on the WCMA guide in the future.
“The Bloomberg Connects team is a great partner as we explore the unique role of a digital guide in a teaching-focused museum and consider how digital material deepens our engagement with the art in the galleries,” says Fischer. “With the digital guide, we can share how the objects in the gallery are being used right now in teaching across the curriculum in classes from Chemistry to Theater.”
The Bloomberg Connects app is available for download from Google Play or the App Store, or by scanning the QR code here:
About Bloomberg Connects
Bloomberg Connects offers free digital guides to cultural organizations around the world. The app platform is part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ longstanding commitment to supporting digital innovation in the arts. Bloomberg Connects makes it easy to access and engage with arts and culture from mobile devices when visiting in person, or anytime from anywhere. With dynamic content exclusive to each partner organization, the app provides a range of features including video, audio, and text; expert commentary; and way-finding maps. Follow Bloomberg Connects on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for updates on new guide launches, exhibit highlights, and more.
About Williams College Museum of Art
Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) creates and inspires exceptional experiences with art that are integral to a liberal arts education, lifelong learning, and human connection. The Museum is a partner in nurturing the cross-disciplinary arts in support of a liberal arts education; advancing the academic and experiential preparation of arts leaders; enriching the cultural ecosystem; engaging artists; and creating a shared learning community that spurs new thinking, creative making, and civic engagement. Located on Main Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts, on the Williams College campus, the museum draws on the collaborative and multidisciplinary ethos of the surrounding college to enliven the more than 15,000 works in its growing collection. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Admission is free. Learn more at artmuseum.williams.edu and connect with WCMA on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.
About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 941 cities and 173 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2021, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $1.66 billion. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Press Contact: Rebecca Dravis, Communications Manager, (413) 597-3127; [email protected]