The Ulrich Museum at Wichita State University is hosting Dr. Eva Gartnerová, a scholar from the Czech Republic, for the 2021-2022 academic year as a Fulbright visiting scholar. While here, Gartnerová will study the university art museum and learn how it engages with its various communities, including people on campus, local school children, and the public at-large.
Gartnerová hopes to apply what she learns here back in the Czech Republic, where universities are just now looking into setting up art museums. Though the Czech Republic does have galleries, none of them host permanent collections, nor do they typically host programs. She said she chose to observe the Ulrich because it excels in both of those areas.
“You have a wonderful collection and a large schedule of programs, working with the community,” said Gartnerová. “Your museum is part of the national networks.”
Along with taking field notes at Museum programs, Gartnerová will develop a questionnaire she hopes to share with visitors, and she also has plans to conduct focus groups.
Ulrich Director Leslie Brothers said she was excited to have the Fulbright scholar at the museum.
“We are thrilled to be hosting Dr. Gartnerová as she researches how American university art museums are valued, and the role they play on college campuses and in their communities,” Brothers said. “We look forward to working with her.”
Although Wichita and the Ulrich will serve as Gartnerová’s base location throughout the year, she will also spend time observing other art museums, including the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma.
Gartnerová says she’s happy to get settled in Wichita and begin observing the museum’s practices. She also believes there is a potential to develop an art tourism market in the Midwest for Europeans interested in getting off the beaten path of the usual museums on both U.S. coasts.
“It’s a huge campus and everyone has been so nice, so hospitable,” Gartnerová said.