As 2023 draws to a close, Lori Beth Finkelstein, Director of the JHU Museums, took a moment to reflect on all the activities and accomplishments at Evergreen and Homewood over the past year. Below, she shares some highlights.
As part of the Johns Hopkins University, Homewood and Evergreen prioritize student involvement. In 2023, the museums hosted eight interns (several funded through philanthropy), 12 student workers, and dozens of class visits from faculty and students at both JHU and other peer institutions throughout the region.
At Evergreen, students and faculty now have a new anchor space for collaboration and study on the second floor of the museum. The Student Engagement Space opened in May thanks to support from Dr. Jill McGovern, the Program in Museums and Society at the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences, and donations to the Student Engagement Fund. Similar work is underway at Homewood to make the Wine Cellar into a more effective classroom and meeting space.
We are constantly looking for innovative and engaging ways to share information about the houses and their inhabitants. This year at Homewood, we introduced a self-guided audio tour as an option for visitors, in addition to the excellent docent-led tour. At Evergreen, Curator of Collections Michelle Fitzgerald recently reinstalled paintings by French Fauvist painter Raoul Dufy in a refreshed gallery on the museum’s second floor. Also this year, Evergreen was awarded a prestigious and competitive grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which will allow us to research and formulate better ways to reach new audiences.
Our work preserving and restoring Homewood and Evergreen is unceasing. This year we were able to strip and refinish Homewood’s backdoor (before and after images, pictured right) and complete repairs on the North Portico roof, part of a two-phase project to restore the museum’s north entrance, which will continue in 2024.
At Evergreen, you may have noticed newly refinished floors in the Gift Shop, a project made possible by the Dr. Jill McGovern and Steven Muller Fund. The Bakst Theatre also had its floors refinished this year, and elegant new UV-filtering window treatments were installed throughout the museum. Both improvements were able to happen thanks to a generous grant from the Stockman Family Foundation.
As always, the museums reached out to both the JHU and Greater Baltimore communities through an impressive lineup of exhibitions, speakers, and performers. Evergreen inaugurated its new Student Engagement Space in May with the student exhibit Evergreen as Muse. A History of Houseplants closed in June after a successful run, and the much-loved Art Glass at Evergreen returned later that month. Homewood hosted Gilman: A Pictured History over the summer, followed by the fall opening of (Re)Valuing Black Baltimore: Bare Hills, Cross Keys, and Hoes Heights, an exhibit curated by Jennie Chaplin, Ph.D., the Slavery and Justice Curatorial Fellow co-sponsored by Inheritance Baltimore and the JHU Museums and funded through a grant by the Mellon Foundation.
None of this would have been possible without your support. Whether you attended an event, took a tour, volunteered your time, engaged with the museums on social media, sponsored a program, or made a gift, you have been vital to the continued success of Evergreen and Homewood. To expand your impact, please consider making a gift to the JHU Museums before December 31.
I wish you a joyous New Year’s and hope to see you at the museums in 2024!
Lori Beth Finkelstein, Ph.D.
Philip Franklin Wagley Director and Curator, Evergreen Museum & Library
Director and Curator, Homewood Museum