The Harvard University Art Museums — a leading center for research and teaching in the visual arts comprising three museums and four research centers — has changed its name to the Harvard Art Museum. The new name, selected because it better expresses the institution’s mission, grows out of an initiative to further unify and integrate the museum’s collections and programs.
The Harvard Art Museum will maintain the identity of its three museums, the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, as well as its research centers, among them the Straus Center for Conservation.
The Harvard Art Museum has previously announced that it will be integrating its collections, which are currently divided among three buildings, into a single facility. This facility, located at 32 Quincy St., will undergo a substantial renovation expected to begin sometime in 2009. The building will close to the public on June 30, 2008. While 32 Quincy St. is closed during this project, selected works from the Harvard Art Museum will be on public view at the Arthur M. Sackler Museum at 485 Broadway.
“We have been operating as a single entity for over two decades, yet we have a name that does not connote unity,” said Thomas W. Lentz, Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director. “Along with comprehensive academic and facilities planning, we also needed to evaluate how we could better present ourselves as a united organization with a common mission. Our new name and our new facilities will reflect an interdisciplinary, unified approach to research and teaching and will enable us to open our collections and our resources to more students, scholars, and visitors.”
“It is essential that the care of the different areas of the collection, scholarship, and education be undertaken by those with specific expertise and experience, and that will continue at the Harvard Art Museum,” added Lentz. “But to separate the art of middle Europe from the rest of Europe and the United States, or to separate the art of Europe from that of the Middle East and Asia, does not make sense.”
The new name also accords with the style used by many other Harvard institutions (for example, Harvard Business School, Harvard Film Archive, Harvard Law School, Harvard Museum of Natural History) in which the word “university” is not used. The name Harvard Art Museum better represents a single administrative organization under the care of Harvard.
A new graphic identity system was developed in conjunction with the new institutional name. Aligned with the plan to bring all three museums physically together under one roof, the new graphic system brings the three constituent museum names together under one institutional name that clarifies the organizational structure.
The graphic representation presents Harvard Art Museum as the anchor, creates a clear picture of the unified constituents, and retains the distinct identities of each.
The naming and graphic identity project was conducted by the Harvard Art Museum in partnership with 2×4, a multidisciplinary studio focusing on design for arts and culture clients worldwide.