When the Weinbergs first moved into Monomoy, they approached Denison Museum staff about using the home to highlight the museum’s activities and the university’s diverse art collections. While the Weinbergs liked many of the works the staff chose for them, one was sent back within a week. In a home in which children are at play—often with the Weinbergs’ energetic puppy, Ellie—it made sense to remove a vase made by an internationally recognized Native American potter. From that point on, art has been carefully selected to fit the family’s lifestyle (which includes playdates, puppies, and lots of guests) and to showcase the work of students and faculty. And now, curating museum objects in Monomoy is an official learning experience in the form of the Monomoy Curatorial Internship through the Denison Museum.
For two years now, a student has been selected to work closely with museum staff and the Weinbergs to choose, prepare, and clean pieces for the home, pinpoint locations for display, assist with installation, and compile an interpretive brochure. After a summer spent developing a basic understanding of the museum’s collection and undergoing training from museum staff, this year’s intern, Gretchen Giltner ’16, an art history and biology double major, got to work bringing pieces from the Museum to the big house on Broadway.
Monomoy guests are now welcomed in the foyer by a portrait of a woman that was created using custom-made melted crayons. The piece, by Christian Faur, director of collaborative technologies for the fine arts, is a bit of a mystery to Giltner. “[Faur] never told us who it is,” she says, “so that makes it more mysterious.” The foyer and the “blue room” feature antique physics instruments from the study collection; there’s a triptych by Kristie King ’14 of her great-grandparents, Isabelle Smock Henson ’28 and Henry Brumback Henson ’29, as well as former Denison President Avery Shaw. Monomoy also displays four colorful pieces by Tay Cha ’07, courtesy of the Margaret Windisch Endowed Student Art Fund.
The Monomoy exhibition will be on display throughout the academic year. Guests to the president’s house also will have the chance to learn more about the artwork through programming and a brochure created by Giltner, with input from museum staff and the Weinbergs, “since,” says Giltner, “it is their home.”