New Hampshire’s Art Museum to Permanently Close

New Hampshire's Art Museum Will Permanently Close, Director Kristina L. Durocher Announced In an Open Letter.

Feb 7, 2024By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
New Hampshire's Art Museum
The museum. Via Wikipedia


New Hampshire’s art museum will close its doors once and for all, director Kristina L. Durocher announced last week. Overall, she informed faculty, staff and students about the ongoing events. According to Durocher, the museum was in the process of replacing its HVAC system, which includes heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Instead of rebuilding it, the university opted to shutter its doors on January 16.


New Hampshire’s Art Museum Because of Low Enrollment

The UNH. The main campus is in Durham. GETTY IMAGES


Durocher expectation was that the system would enable it to obtain certification from the American Alliance of Museums. The alliance the leading industry association for museums in the United States. Museum directors can find guidelines, standards, ethical advice, and more from the AAM. For an institution, this approval is a highly esteemed indicator of excellence.


The director also said he can open “the door to private and public grants”. Also, significant gifts from renowned collectors and loans from other recognised entities. “UNH’s decision to close the museum was, I am told, a difficult one, brought on by declining enrolment, and it comes with a mix of emotions”, wrote Durocher, who serves as director since 2011. In mid-January, UNH, a public land-grant institution, lay off 75 of its 3,700 workers.


The UNH. Via the university.


James Dean Jr., the president of UNH, declared at the time a plan to cut annual spending by $14 million. UNH currently has an endowment of $475.1 million, according to its FY2023 report. This is far less than the best private institutions and the largest public universities. The University of System of New Hampshire published its yearly executive review in September of last year. It stated that fewer students were enrolled full-time on all UNH campuses.

Get the latest articles delivered to your inbox

Sign up to our Free Weekly Newsletter


Rare for Such Institutions to Not Have a Museum

The UNH. Via slamstox


The enrolment declined 13.6 percent since FY2019, blaming “New England demographics and overall market changes”. More directly, the US is seeing a fall in population, according to Nathan Grawe, an economics professor at Careleton College in Minnesota. As a result, fewer people completed their high school educations and enrolled in colleges. He stated that the Northeast is where the consequences are most noticeable.


Durocher wrote in her letter that the lack of a museum at a university the size of UNH is rare. The enduring collection of the UNH Museum of Art includes more than 200 paintings, 400 photos, 1,000 works on paper, and about 20 sculptures. That includes photographs by Andy Warhol, etchings by Goya and Rembrandt. Also, paintings by Boston expressionists Hyman Bloom and Karl Zerbe and others.


The UNH. Via Business NH Magazine.


“Since 1941, there have been exhibitions of works of art on campus, including loans from storied institutions such as National Gallery of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian Institute. And I, as president of the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries, and a respected museum professional, am wounded to be at the head of an academic museum that after 60 years is closing”, Durocher explained.

Author Image

By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.