From the Field

Saralyn Reece Hardy on Art Museums' Humanism

January 17, 2014

In a recent interview with, Saralyn Reece Hardy, director of the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas, discussed the unique position of the university museum; the role of art and art museums in society; and her own professional path and passion for art. "The museum should be one of those places in which many different subjects and ideas come together in order for you to have a full understanding of what it is to be a human being," Hardy says. "The humanistic aspect is really important to me. Just as novelists often say that one reads and sometimes writes to learn how someone else thinks, a museum is a place where you can foster empathy for different people and for different situations."

Hardy also talked about the museum's upcoming expansion and its print room, which is open to the public on Fridays. "So, no matter who you are or where you grew up or what your background is, you can come in and say, 'May I look at your Dürer?' And we’ll show it to you," Hardy explains. "A museum should be not only a safe but a stimulating place in which to have conversations that matter, in front of beautiful and important objects."


The full interview with Saralyn Reece Hardy is available at


Image of Saralyn Reece Hardy courtesy of the Spencer Museum of Art