On Campus, The Arts

Object Photography Event Opens Up FAC Collection to Public

Megan Clancy ’07

Sara Hodge, Head of Collections at the FAC, shows visitors how to position and photograph a small sculpture from the museum’s tactile collection during the “Museum Object Photography” event on Feb. 16, 2024. Photo by Jamie Cotten.

On Friday, February 16, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College (FAC) hosted “Museum Object Photography” in the new Agents of Care gallery space. Museum staff set up their object photography studio in the gallery and pulled selections from the museum’s tactile collection to photograph. Visitors were invited to drop by and ask questions about the photography process and even try their hand at object photography.

“That’s the joy of tactile collections,” says Sara Hodge, Head of Collections at the FAC. “We can invite the public to touch and interact with the art in more intimate and engaging ways. We have such a small portion of our tactile collection photographed and digitized to our online collections library and eMuseum. I’m excited about programs like this where we truly collaborate with our community in the stewardship of our collection.”

The FAC is currently going through the long process of re-numbering and categorizing the 134 objects of its tactile collection, most of which are from the 1980s and 1990s. While the afternoon allowed museum staff to do a lot of this work, it opened up the space for visitors to see how the skill and methods used for museum photography could be applied to their own creative interests. Visitors ranged from individuals who were interested in displaying their personal art, to amateur photographers, to one who was interested in photographing and digitally displaying his classic car collection.

“This event provides a fun opportunity for visitors to engage with the art and learn new skills they can use in the care of their own collections and personal treasures,” says Hodge. “At the same time, we’re increasing transparency around the work we do and growing our intellectual and physical control of the artwork entrusted to our care, all while increasing access of our collections to diverse new audiences both in person and online. It really ticks all the boxes.”

Members of the public assist in photographing the FAC’s tactile collection during the “Museum Object Photography” event on Feb. 16, 2024. Photo by Jamie Cotten.

Museum collections staff usually work in dark basements far removed from the public eye. This exhibition allowed them to work in a public gallery alongside the community they’re meant to serve and support.

“We gain fresh perspectives which help us understand the collections in new and exciting ways,” says Hodge. “I love hearing peoples’ stories and the unique ways they relate with the art.”

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