OPINION: Make WSU put museum exhibits online

Museums still deserve to be seen during the campus shutdown

With+so+many+interesting+pieces+of+art+on+campus%2C+put+them+online+so+students+can+still+view+them.

JOSEPH GARDNER | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

With so many interesting pieces of art on campus, put them online so students can still view them.

HALEY BRICKWEDEL, Evergreen Columnist

The Washington State University campus offers everything a student could ask for, from food to education. However, there are museums on campus that are underutilized. With COVID-19 going around, the museums will be closed. However, once campus is reopened, take some time to appreciate the museums that aren’t appreciated.

The Jordan Schnitzer Museum and the Conner Museum are the two museums located on Pullman Campus. The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is the newest on campus.

“The museum presented 14 full-scale exhibitions during the first operating year. The goal was to provide a wider range of art, making practices and perspectives to the community,” said Ryan Hardesty, curator of exhibitions and collection for the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.

The museum brings in art and many artists, for a chance to enrich the students, faculty and community.

“Now we manage six distinct galleries of various scale, along with a collection study center allowing us to present everything from large survey exhibitions and retrospectives to more intimate projects,” said Hardesty.

However, how many students have been to the museum? Students need to use the museums in order for them to be useful to the university.

“The art museum is great. I think they fill the space really well and represent the art well,” said Courtney Lord, a sophomore nursing major.

The Schnitzer Museum gives students a chance to enrich their understanding of art and culture.

“The museum is a dynamic place for everyone and a key ingredient to a culturally rich and healthy community life,” Hardesty said.

The issue now with the coronavirus causing the closure of campus, students, faculty and community members will not be visiting the museum. Social distancing and the closure of business has put a stop to the busy college lifestyle.

“I think if people saw some of the art before they would want to go see it in person,” Lord said.

The art should be put online due to COVID-19. With the art online it could be seen by many and lower the risk of students, staff and community members in this time of social distancing. Some students don’t know that the museums exist and are free to enter. Having the exhibits and art online could work as an advertisement after the social distancing. 

The Conner Museum is another museum on campus and is utilized by classes. It is a museum that uses animals and research to teach biology. The museum exhibits animals that have been taxidermy mounted. They last a long time because they are preserved and kept clean in the glass casing. 

“Many classes use the museum for a specific lab,” said Kelly Cassidy, the Conner Museum curator. Others … visit the exhibit and also get loans of specimens to work with in their labs.”

The Conner Museum provides a chance for students to learn through other means. This can mean labs and projects.

“I’ve been to the animal museum for a class and it’s interesting to see the different animals,” Lord said.

Stepping out of a classroom and putting away books to experience and become hands-on. Other classes like Fine Arts Drawing Class and Environmental Science can visit museums for a grade, but this depends on class specific assignments and extra credit opportunities.

“Most of the mounts in the exhibit were prepared in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. A few were prepared in the early 1900s. That said, most of the museum specimens are things the public never sees,” Cassidy said.

The Conner Museum gives students a chance to study and learn from the adaptive features of the animals and evolutionary advantages.

“The major factor limiting visitation to the museum is that it does not have its own building and parking lot,” Cassidy said. 

The museums on campus need to put their art and exhibits online. Without online access the museums are not only missing out on the opportunity to share and educate, they are limiting the student access to the resources provided through the university. 

At the end of the day, the university offers many amenities. However, they are no benefit to the students when they are underutilized or even an unknown asset. With COVID-19 going around and social isolation the museums won’t be used at all. This means the museums going forward should put more of their exhibits online.

Haley Brickwedel is a English major from Belfair, Wash. She can be contacted at 335-1140 or at opinion@dailyevergreen.com. The views expressed in this column do not necessarily represent the views of The Daily Evergreen, its editors or publishers.