I. Museum Philosophy
The Housatonic Museum of Art was founded on the philosophy that works of art should be an everyday part of the educational environment. Just as the college understands the necessity of providing books through a library, Housatonic Community College believes that an equally important component of its educational mission is to provide an opportunity to experience original works of art – in essence, a visual library. Art becomes an integral part of the learning environment.
II. Museum Mission
The Housatonic Museum of Art is an expression of the serious commitment Housatonic Community College has made to the cultural enrichment of students, faculty, and staff through an introduction to original paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, and sculpture. In addition, the Museum strives to introduce the greater Bridgeport area to the pleasures and challenges that result from experiencing original art. The Museum provides educational opportunities through the display of art throughout the building and in the galleries. The Museum also offers cultural enrichment programs to augment exhibitions in an effort to provide deeper understanding of the work to both the campus community and the entire region.
III. Museum Purpose
As an educational resource for both the College and the Community, the Housatonic Museum of Art is dedicated to the presentation, preservation and interpretation of objects of artistic or historic value. To further the College’s academic goals, the Museum will actively pursue the development and maintenance of its collections including paintings, sculptures, photographs and artifacts. The Museum collections are to provide a basis for its educational programs for students, faculty, staff and the public; for research and study by scholars, historians and curators; for special lectures and symposia; for exhibitions and for cultural and educational enrichment of the internal community and public-at-large.
IV. Museum Ethics
The Museum and its governing body abide by a code of ethics that reflect a commitment to excellence and accountability between the State of Connecticut, Housatonic Community College, the Museum, and the society they serve.
V. Museum History
The Housatonic Museum of Art was founded in 1967 shortly after the College opened its doors. Burt Chernow, the first instructor in art, believed that original works of art should be as much a part of the everyday College life as textbooks and libraries. It is used as a resource for a fine arts associate’s degree, a support for the graphic arts program and the general education program at the College, and as a resource for the students, faculty, and staff of the College as well as for the greater Bridgeport community. It should be emphasized that the primary objective of the collection was to create an environment within which the other elements stated could take place, i.e., a teaching museum, support for graphic arts and the general education programs, and a resource for the college and community.
The Museum has grown with the very generous donations by numerous artists and collectors and consists currently of approximately 4,000 works of art in a variety of media. Among the well-known artists included in the collection are works by Durer, Rodin, Renoir, Picasso, Miro, Matisse, and Warhol, to name a few.