Museum InfoMedia Room

DIA interior
DIA interior

A Partnership that Makes a Difference

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The Detroit Institute of Arts is one of a handful of prominent museums to receive the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation fellowship program and we value this affiliation. The foundation program is designed to help art museums build and sustain serious research scholarship on permanent collections, preserve the collections, and share the results of this work with scholars and the general public.

Founded in 1969 by the son and daughter of Andrew W. Mellon, the foundation makes grants in five core areas: higher education, museums and art conservation, performing arts, conservation and the environment, and public affairs. A businessman and banker, politician and statesman, Mellon was an art collector and philanthropist. In 2003, the foundation bearing his name awarded over $58 million in grants to prominent institutions acrosss North America.

Since 1979, the DIA has provided a rich environment for serious scholarship by post-doctoral and doctoral candidates, who participate in a broad range of activities, taking advantage of valuable training opportunities, and bringing, in turn, their knowledge and research skills to the DIA. During the past year, curatorial fellows have been integrally involved in exhibitions, the administration and planning for the reinstallation of the galleries as part of the building renovation project, and publishing their research on aspects of the collection.

The art conservation fellow receives advanced training in the DIA’s conservation lab, one of the leading facilities of its kind in the country. Working in the museum’s state-of-the-art laboratory, fellows gain proficiency in the analysis and treatment of works of art belonging to the DIA and other regional institutions seeking our expertise.

The current building renovation provides a unique opportunity for the study of objects now in storage as they are considered for future exhibition in Detroit or on loan to other museums. According to DIA Director Graham W. J. Beal, Mellon fellows collaborate with “curators and conservators on new installations for the duration of the renovations, exploring new ways to present the art to the public, and bringing to bear the most current research and techniques in museum display.”

Past Mellon fellows have gone on to accept appointments at prominent institutions, which is, in no small measure, a testimony to the success of the program at the DIA. The DIA feels a strong obligation to contribute to the training of young museum professionals and is pleased to recognize the partnership with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that makes this important work possible.