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Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Museum of Art Announce Collaboration

Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Museum of Art are launching a landmark initiative that capitalizes on their longtime collaborations as well as their strengths in scholarship, curation, conservation and education.

Cleveland Museum of Art
Cleveland Museum of Art

The new venture emerged from the vision and dedication of Cleveland Museum of Art trustee Nancy Keithley and Case Western Reserve trustee Joseph Keithley. The couple has committed $15 million to realize the ideal of a joint effort that advances both institutions and prepares future curators, scholars, museum directors and academic leaders. In recognition of Nancy and Joseph’s philanthropic leadership, the dynamic and forward-thinking program will be named The Nancy and Joseph Keithley Institute for Art History.

A centerpiece of the Keithley Institute is support for the reimagined joint doctoral program that the museum and university developed together over the past few years. A recipient of a $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation last year, the updated program emphasizes an “object-oriented” approach – that is one that integrates theory and methodology with intensive, in-person study of actual pieces of art. In addition to seeing objects firsthand, students also will participate in museum internships that provide real-world experience in curation and other aspects of museum operation. In an era when digital and virtual lessons become increasingly ubiquitous, the value of an object focus becomes all the more apparent.

The joint doctoral program between Case Western Reserve and Cleveland Museum of Art dates back to 1967. From the start the program has drawn upon museum’s world class collections and training in connoisseurship, acquisitions research and exhibition development. In addition to the revitalized doctoral program, the endowment will support public and academic programming as well as joint publications that highlight the institute’s progress and impact. All of the efforts will fall under the strategic leadership of an institute director, also funded by the Keithleys’ gift.

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