Harvard Art Museums Receive Million-Dollar Gift to Support Student Guide Program
The Ho Family Student Guide Fund, given by George Ho (A.B. ’90), Henry Ho (A.B. ’95), and Rosalind “Sasa” Wang, will support research and training for the museums’ Student Guide programDownload PDF
The Harvard Art Museums have received a $1 million gift from George Ho (A.B. ’90), Henry Ho (A.B. ’95), and Rosalind “Sasa” Wang to establish the Ho Family Student Guide Fund, which will support research and training for the museums’ Student Guide program.
The museums’ Student Guides—now known as Ho Family Student Guides—are Harvard undergraduates who are trained to design and offer unique, thematic tours about select objects for university and community audiences. Participants come from a wide range of backgrounds, including art history, visual and environmental studies, the sciences, history, and literature. Students from all concentrations are encouraged to apply. Through their training, Student Guides gain knowledge of the collections and develop skills in critical thinking, visual analysis, public speaking, and leadership.
The Ho Family Student Guide Fund will underwrite the Student Guide program, providing financial support for needs ranging from compensation and training to research opportunities that will foster the development of each guide.
“The Harvard Art Museums are grateful for this significant display of support for our students,” said Martha Tedeschi, the museums’ Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director. “We have a unique responsibility to an evolving group of brilliant minds—students whose development depends on the strength of our programs. With this gift, the Ho family has enabled us to further animate a program that is preparing the next generation of arts leaders.”
The Ho family’s gift was made in late 2018, after Henry C. Ho, chairman and CEO of Tung Ho Steel Enterprise in Taipei City, Taiwan, visited the Harvard Art Museums. With a plan to support the arts at Harvard, Henry met with Martha Tedeschi and David Odo, director of student programs and research curator for university initiatives. He also experienced curated tours by several Student Guides. The students’ expertise and enthusiasm so impressed him that he and his family opted to dedicate their entire gift to the Student Guide program.
“I was particularly intrigued by the perspective presented by the non-art students,” said Henry Ho. “They developed new interpretations that augmented the traditional understanding of the artist’s work. A different dialogue was created in the process which allowed the museum visitors to have a new experience. I think the Student Guide program is great manifestation of Harvard’s cross-disciplinary education at work.”
A passion for the arts runs deep in the Ho family. The Tung Ho Steel Foundation, in collaboration with the National Culture and Arts Foundation of Taiwan, established the Tung Ho Steel International Artist Residency Program in 2013. Through this innovative program, one domestic and one foreign artist are invited each year to Miaoli Works, where they utilize steel scraps as creative material, forging an exciting connection between art and industrial production. The foundation also sponsors the Kaohsiung International Steel & Iron Festival, the FORMOSA Sculpture Biennial, and the International Shoebox Sculpture Exhibition.
Henry’s brother George Y. Ho, who earned his bachelor’s degree in visual and environmental studies from Harvard in 1990, is an important artist in Taiwan. Their mother is the founder of a contemporary Chinese art gallery. Henry’s spouse, Sasa, is a volunteer docent at the National Palace Museum in Taipei, and founded a program in 2014 at a local international school that trains and places high school students as junior docents in the National Palace Museum. In addition, Henry and Sasa volunteer as hosts for Harvard programs, such as touring performance groups, in Taiwan and China.
With its aim of supporting the next generation of arts leaders, the Ho Family Student Guide Fund aligns perfectly with the Harvard Art Museums’ pedagogical mission, said David Odo. “The Ho Family Student Guide program offers students the opportunity to both study art and interpret it within the unique contexts of their respective academic disciplines, their knowledge of artistic practice, and their personal experiences,” Odo said. “The program prepares the next generation of cultural leaders through unparalleled access to a world-class art collection and expert staff. Our undergraduate guides participate in rigorous training, during which they learn how to design, research, and lead in-depth, thematic tours of our collections focused on a small number of objects. By empowering students at this early stage of their careers to develop their own research-based interpretations of works of art, we hope to foster in them a lifelong passion for the arts.”
Tours by Ho Family Student Guides are offered throughout the year. This summer, they will be offered every Saturday and Sunday, at 11am and 3pm. Tours are free with museums admission, limited to 15 people, and available on a first-come, first-served basis (no registration required). For more information, please check our calendar.
Students interested in participating in the Ho Family Student Guide Program are encouraged to learn more about the application process on our Teaching and Research page.
About the Harvard Art Museums
The Harvard Art Museums house one of the largest and most renowned art collections in the United States, and are comprised of three museums (the Fogg, Busch-Reisinger, and Arthur M. Sackler Museums) and four research centers (the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, the Center for the Technical Study of Modern Art, the Harvard Art Museums Archives, and the Archaeological Exploration of Sardis). The Fogg Museum includes Western art from the Middle Ages to the present; the Busch-Reisinger Museum, unique among North American museums, is dedicated to the study of all modes and periods of art from central and northern Europe, with an emphasis on German-speaking countries; and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum is focused on Asian art, Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern art, and Islamic and later Indian art. Together, the collections include approximately 250,000 objects in all media. The Harvard Art Museums are distinguished by the range and depth of their collections, their groundbreaking exhibitions, and the original research of their staff. Integral to Harvard University and the wider community, the museums and research centers serve as resources for students, scholars, and the public. For more than a century they have been the nation’s premier training ground for museum professionals and are renowned for their seminal role in developing the discipline of art history in the United States. The Harvard Art Museums have a rich tradition of considering the history of objects as an integral part of the teaching and study of art history, focusing on conservation and preservation concerns as well as technical studies.
The Harvard Art Museums’ 2014 renovation and expansion carried on the legacies of the three museums and united their remarkable collections under one roof for the first time. Renzo Piano Building Workshop preserved the Fogg Museum’s landmark 1927 facility, while transforming the space to accommodate 21st-century needs. The three constituent museums retain their distinct identities in the facility, yet their close proximity provides exciting opportunities to experience works of art in a broader context. harvardartmuseums.org
Hours and Admission
Daily, 10am–5pm. Closed major holidays. Admission: $15 adults, $13 seniors (65+). Free for members; youth under 18; Cambridge residents (proof of residency required); all students; and Harvard ID holders (plus one guest). On Saturdays, from 10am–noon, Massachusetts residents receive free admission (proof of residency required). For further information about visiting, see harvardartmuseums.org/plan-your-visit
Exhibitions, Events, and News
Our Special Exhibitions Gallery presents important new research on artists and artistic practice, and our University Galleries are programmed in consultation with Harvard faculty to support coursework. harvardartmuseums.org/visit/exhibitions
Lectures, workshops, films, performances, special events, and other programs are held throughout the year at the museums. harvardartmuseums.org/visit/calendar
Check out Index, our multimedia magazine, to keep up with what’s happening at the Harvard Art Museums. harvardartmuseums.org/index-magazine
The Harvard Art Museums receive support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
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