Mice, Snowflakes and Muhammad Ali: the Bates Art Museum’s new Exhibit

From shamanistic artifacts to contemporary art, the Bates Art Museum’s new exhibit, Pedeaology, hosts artworks from various disciplines to show the variety in the collection. This exhibit runs until October 15 and is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.. 

Walking through the exhibit, you will see many different artworks from different disciplines. A picture that took two years to make: the first photograph that captured the location of the sun at each hour. Some of the very first pictures of snowflakes. A painting of reptiles and mice gathering around a watering hole, depicted in bright colors from pharmaceutical drugs. Most of these artworks do not have anything in common, yet they are all a part of the Bates collection. 

Talking with Peter Philbin ‘22, the museum’s assistant education curator of academic & community programs, I was able to learn more about Pedeaology and the fantastic art in the exhibit. When asked about the intent behind the exhibit, Philbin said that “the purpose of this exhibit is to assist the student body” and is “meant to highlight the variety in the Bates collection, a collection that has over 8,000 works of art.” 

This exhibit was created by Director Dan Mills and Education Curator Anthony Shostack and was designed to be integrated into courses. The hope is for professors to come with their classes, which is possible for almost every course because of the variety in this exhibit. 

Another added element to this exhibit is the use of student engagement. In every section, there is a piece of paper taped to the wall that is meant for students to write keywords they come up with after viewing each section. The keywords serve as a way for students to engage more with the art and to better connect them with the creators of the exhibit. 

With so many incredible works, it was difficult to pick a favorite section. However, the sports section jumped out at me at the end of my visit and quickly became my favorite. Photographs of Serena Williams, Muhammad Ali and Jackie Robinson were a great tribute to some of the most respected athletes in sports history. 

However, there was also a tribute to some of lesser-known sports moments. A photograph of a woman from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League during World War II was inspiring and excited me as someone whose favorite childhood movie was A League of Their Own. 

At the end of my visit, I asked Philbin what the Art Museum hoped people would take away from this exhibit, and he told me that this exhibit is “just a snapshot of what is in the collection, there is so much more that is waiting to be used by students.”