Dear Alumni and Friends,

As the year draws to a close, many of us traditionally begin to reflect on what has transpired over the past twelve months, ruminating on both the positive and the negative outcomes, and making our plans for the future.  Here at the University of Michigan, however, with its extremely short holiday break, our primary question tends to be: "The new semester starts in how many weeks?"  As I write this, there is perhaps less time for thinking about the big picture, and more of a concern to continue the momentum that began just a few short months ago in September.  

As you can see from the current issue of our newsletter, the department is in its first semester of a number of exciting new initiatives.  In the first place, we are beginning to radically strengthen our longstanding engagement with curatorial studies, assimilating the freestanding Museum Studies Minor at U-M into History of Art and launching two new, exciting curatorial fellowships for our graduate students in partnership with the University of Michigan Museum of Art.  In addition, a number of our faculty are working on new courses that will involve students in exhibitions both here at the university and beyond.  Curatorial studies, a rapidly growing area of scholarship, is becoming even more central to our department.

In addition, we are also developing and expanding our Visual Resources Collection.  Now that the transition to the use of digital assets for teaching is complete, we are beginning to make our legacy collections available to a larger public by digitizing them and posting them online.  Over the decades, our department has been the recipient of many magnificent gifts in the visual resources area, and it makes us very proud to be able to honor some of our greatest benefactors, and to make their contributions available to the university and the scholarly community at large.  Questions about the organization of digital information as well as its copyright and the constituencies that may have access to it are central issues facing universities and businesses alike in the twenty-first century.  Accordingly, they have become important topics of exploration, and it is exciting to see the energy with which the department is engaging these concerns.  

Finally, as this newsletter goes to press, we are currently working on new fellowship and experiential learning opportunities about which I hope to inform you in the spring.

Best wishes to everyone for the holiday season, and please remember to stay in touch.  We hope to see you in person at one of our upcoming events.


Matt Biro
Professor and Chair