The Broad Art Museum hosted the grand opening of the highly anticipated Center for Object Research and Engagement, or the CORE, on Friday. Unlike some of the museum's other exhibitions, which rotate every few years or so, the CORE provides a permanent space for over thousands of objects that the university has been accumulating as far back as 1945.
But the CORE doesn’t just display art. In fact, it differs from a typical museum display in a few key ways.
Many of the objects on display in the CORE can be uniquely interacted with, which lends itself to the “engagement” part of the CORE.
“It's about enriching students' experiences in a way that we can't otherwise,” Educator for Student Engagement and Access Kristin McCool said.
One such object is an old ding vessel from the Eastern Zhou Period (771-221 BCE) that, although housed in a glass case, was 3D printed to allow visitors to physically pick up the object and interact with it in ways they wouldn't be able to normally.
McCool said the interactive aspect of the CORE means that viewers can go beyond just viewing and contemplating objects; they can understand the historical and cultural contexts of them, which is an important part of education.
The CORE also utilizes an open storage model, where artifacts are put on display in high volumes with glass. A common museum practice, McCool said, this means the collection is kept open for the public to enjoy rather than only displaying a small fraction of it.
The actual content of the collection spans over 5,000 years of human history and features a wide range of different cultures, including artifacts from historical African figurines used for religious and ritual purposes to more recent oil on canvas paintings.
Interim Director & Senior Curator Steven Bridges said bringing all of those cultures together serves as a portal that allows people to glimpse into the experiences of beliefs, makers and individuals.
Bridges added that the CORE is also in line with the museum’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, as some of the museum’s video content has engaged with different professors, faculty members and artists to spark conversations about objects in the museum’s collection.
“By creating a more inclusive and porous environment, allowing different perspectives, lived experiences and cultural backgrounds to kind of be present and those voices represented in the space, we hope to build out a much more robust but also expansive kind of engagement with the objects in the collection,” he said.
Beyond the CORE, Bridges said one of the museum’s big goals is to continue integrating the arts across campus in a "broad" sense. He pointed to the launch of Arts MSU as an example of this ongoing initiative.
Broad Art Museum also has a Student Creative Council, which serves as an outreach group to keep people interested in the arts.
“(The CORE) brings about a shared appreciation for artists,” French senior Brennan Spear, a student creative at the museum, said. “Having that space that brings us all together from different paths, different walks of life, that’s really cool and interesting.”
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