Introducing the Gallery Activation Project

In advance of the museum’s July 16 reopening, HoMA’s department of Learning & Engagement (L&E) has been redesigning parts of the gallery and art interpretation experience to prepare for our collective “new normal”.  As our community can expect more individualized museum visits in the weeks and months to come, we’re offering new resources to further enrich those visits, and finding creative ways to uphold our commitment to providing a relevant and transformative museum experience. We are thrilled to introduce a new experiential L&E initiative called the Gallery Activation Project, which you’ll encounter as you explore the galleries and artworks. The project is broken down into three points of engagement: Art in Practice, Art in Conversation, and Art in Context.

Art in Practice focuses on explaining art techniques through video instruction and demonstration. This work highlights individual artists and artworks in the HoMA collection through an exploration of technical tradition, experimentation and innovation.  Art in Practice will examine a diverse array of artistic methods from indigenous practices to techniques commonly used by contemporary artists. This point of engagement is designed to encourage learning and skill building for all ages, with an emphasis on the global reach and appreciation of HoMA’s art collection. 

Art in Practice


Art in Conversation pairs works of art in HoMA’s collection together, as a unique way of connecting seemingly disparate artwork and seeking out similarities. This point of engagement demonstrates how artists from different time periods or places in the world can be brought together—or have a conversation—through their exploration of the same themes. For example, there are numerous artists that examine the beauty of nature; their work can be found in HoMA’s Modernism gallery, Arts of China gallery and Arts of Hawai’i gallery, just to name a few. Art in Conversation aims to foster creative and unexpected points of connection between artworks and encourages viewers to consider how thinking about multiple artworks can enhance the experience of looking at an individual piece.

Art in Conversation


Art in Context works to “return” or recontextualize artworks to the time or place of origin through reflection and storytelling. Although we cannot physically give a tour of Vincent Van Gogh’s Wheatfield (1888) in the artist’s residence of Arles, France, we can gather and share important information about the artist, where he worked, and what his life looked like. The aim of the Art in Context engagement is to activate the questions of How, When, Who, Where, and Why when walking through the galleries. Art in Context focuses on using information, imagination, and history to strengthen our understanding and appreciation of art. 

Art in Context


By engaging our visitors’ imaginations and giving everyone a number of ways to connect to art, we’re hoping to foster long lasting, positive experiences at the museum for each and every visitor. Stay tuned for more about the Gallery Activation Project—we’ll keep you posted as to how you can access these exciting new resources during your visits to HoMA.

– Mindi Gandara, Learning & Engagement Public Programs Manager