2/16/17 - 8/20/17

Christina Olsen, Class of '56 Director of the Williams College Museum of Art

Kerry Bickford, Class of 2017, Graduate Program in the History of Art

Between 1960 and 1962, WCMA acquired 396 works of art, including ancient Egyptian amulets, Chinese Qing dynasty vases, and William Morris Hunt’s majestic painting of Niagara Falls. As with all objects that enter the collection, they were catalogued with an accession number, a code that records both the year and order of acquisition. Using this coding system as a display strategy, Accession Number poses several questions: What did the museum prioritize, why, and what did it overlook? Why was the art given? Which works of art do we value today? And finally, how do we infer meaning from this or any archive? Explore this question in an accompanying installation that invites the public to curate their own digital display.

The iPad interface was designed and programmed by Duane A. Bailey, Professor of Computer Science, with the assistance of Williams College students—Julia Kawano ’19, Evelyn Mahon ’18, and Javier Esparza ’20.
Selected works