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Museum Students Show What They Learned

Spectators examine works in "Face to Face," which opened July 28.

To the uninitiated, it may not seem such a significant undertaking to mount a small art exhibition.

But for 15 students in the new Summer Institute for Art Museum Studies (SIAMS), the challenges and realities of curating an exhibition -- choosing the content, displaying works, writing descriptive materials, publishing an exhibition catalogue, publicizing the event -- became part of their daily work.

The result is the exhibition “Face to Face: Looking at Portraiture,” which opened in the Museum of Art on July 28, the final day of the six-week institute.

For students in SIAMS, their summer studies provided an intensive, behind-the-scenes crash course on the business of operating a museum, from the always-challenging financial aspects to the logistical details of mounting a public exhibition.

“Face to Face” includes some 20 works by artists such as Diego Rivera, Robert Tobey and Winslow Homer. The exhibition will remain on display through early September.

The SIAMS is directed by Suzannah Fabing, former director and chief curator (from 1992 to 2005) of the Smith College Museum of Art. The institute -- the only summer program of its kind for undergraduates -- grew from a popular Interterm seminar on museum studies taught by Fabing for 10 years.

-Eric Weld

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