Museums are still worth seeing while the campus is closed

The Washington State University campus offers everything a student could ask for, from food to education. However, there are museums on campus that are underutilized. With COVID-19 circulating, museums will be closed. However, once the campus reopens, take the time to appreciate the unappreciated museums.

The Jordan Schnitzer Museum and the Conner Museum are the two museums located on the Pullman campus. The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is the newest on campus.

“The museum presented 14 life-size exhibits in the first year of operation. The goal was to provide a wider range of art, making practices and perspectives to the community,” said Ryan Hardesty, curator of exhibitions and collection at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.

The museum brings art and many artists, for a chance to enrich students, teachers and the community.

“We now run six separate galleries of varying sizes, as well as a Collections Study Center allowing us to present everything from major exhibitions and retrospectives to more intimate projects,” Hardesty said.

However, how many students have been to the museum? Students must use museums to be useful to the university.

“The art museum is great. I think they fill the space really well and represent the art well,” said sophomore Courtney Lord.

The Schnitzer Museum gives students a chance to enrich their understanding of art and culture.

“The museum is a vibrant place for everyone and a key ingredient to a culturally rich and healthy community life,” said Hardesty.

The issue now with the coronavirus causing the campus to close, students, faculty and community members will not be visiting the museum. Social distancing and business closures have put an end to the hectic college lifestyle.

“I think if people saw some of the art before, they would want to go see it in person,” Lord said.

The art is expected to go online due to COVID-19. With art online it could be seen by many and reduce the risk to students, staff and community members in this time of social distancing. Some students don’t know that museums exist and are free to enter. Having the exhibits and art online could work as an advertisement after social distancing.

The Conner Museum is another museum on campus and is used by classes. It is a museum that uses animals and research to teach biology. The museum exhibits stuffed animals. They last a long time as they are stored and kept clean in the glass case.

“Many classes use the museum for a specific lab,” said Conner Museum Curator Kelly Cassidy. Others…visit the exhibit and also get loans of specimens to work with in their labs.

The Conner Museum offers students the opportunity to learn in other ways. This can mean labs and projects.

“I went to the animal museum for a class and it’s interesting to see the different animals,” Lord said.

Get out of a classroom and put away books to experiment and get hands-on. Other classes like the Fine Arts Drawing class and Environmental Science may visit museums for a grade, but this depends on class-specific assignments and additional credit opportunities.

“Most of the mounts in the exhibit were prepared in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. A few were prepared in the early 1900s. That said, most of the museum specimens are things that the public only sees ever,” Cassidy said.

The Conner Museum gives students a chance to study and learn adaptive characteristics of animals and evolutionary advantages.

“The biggest factor limiting visits to the museum is that it doesn’t have its own building and its own parking lot,” Cassidy said.

Campus museums must put their art and exhibits online. Without online access, museums not only miss the opportunity to share and educate, they limit student access to resources provided by the university.

Ultimately, the university offers many amenities. However, they offer no benefit to students when they are underutilized or even an unknown asset. With COVID-19 circulating and social isolation, museums will not be used at all. This means that museums in the future should put more of their exhibits online.

Haley Brickwedel is an English student from Belfair, Washington. She can be contacted at 335-1140 or at [email protected] The opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily represent the opinions of The Daily Evergreen, its editors or publishers.


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