There are as many ways to react to a photograph as there are people viewing
it. Focus: Experiments in Photographic Interpretation, hosted by the Tufts University Art Gallery,
explores the power of photography and curation to prompt personal responses in viewers.
Curated by graduate students in the Tufts University Museum Studies program, the exhibition
will be open to the public from Tuesday, May 5 through Sunday, May 17, 2015. A public
opening reception will take place on May 5 from 5:00 to 8:00 P.M.
On display are twelve distinct experiments in curatorial interpretation. Each student selected a
photograph from the collection of Historic New England to use as inspiration. The photographs
depict scenes of New England life from the turn of the 19th century. Subjects range from nature
to technological innovation to family relationships. The exhibition featuring Construction of the
Beacon Hill Tunnel, by Paul Rowell, chronicles the history of Boston’s public transportation
system and its role in the daily life of the city. Kit with Her Mother, by Alfred Wayland Cutting,
celebrates the universal experience of aging, while Baldwin Coolidge’s The Wreck of the Warren
Sawyer explores the encounter between a person and the sublime. Various interpretive
lenses—personal, historical, intellectual, aesthetic, empathetic—invite viewers to consider the
power of photographic imagery and how curatorial decisions impact the visitor experience.
The Tufts Museum Studies Program, a collaborative effort of the education, art history, and
history departments, trains students in the preservation, administration, and education skills
required to work in museum and historic settings. The Exhibition Planning class, which
produces an exhibition at the Gallery each year, teaches students how to take an exhibition
from concept through opening.
Sponsored by Historic New England & the Tufts University Art Gallery