With the start of the 2022-23 school year at Valpo comes a variety of new beginnings: the start of an undergraduate degree for freshmen, the beginning of the end for our senior graduates, and even the start of the Beacon and Blaze’s journey as our mascots. That being said, a particularly notable start is that of Jonathan Canning’s career as the new director of the Brauer Museum.
Canning lived most of his childhood in Britain, where he later completed his undergraduate degree in art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Canning went on to earn his master’s degree from the University of Delaware and a master’s degree in philosophy (M. Phil) from Columbia University.
Canning acquired most of his current experience and knowledge while earning his graduate degree in New York.
“I worked my way through a whole bunch of museums around town,” Canning said. “I worked at the Jewish Museum, the Met Cloisters Museum, the New York Historical Society…there were a lot of odd jobs.”
Canning eventually moved to Chicago, where he was hired at Loyola University Chicago.
“I had studied a whole range of different things and worked in a variety of short-term positions at different museums, but it all finally came together at Loyola,” Canning said. “I mentored students and was also the curator, but in the end I had something that was just my responsibility. I wasn’t just the assistant or the intern. I presented the collection, preserved it, built it through acquisitions; it was all mine. It’s that role, whether at Loyola or here at the Brauer, that’s special.
Canning was the curator of two museums before coming to Valpo.
“Everywhere I’ve been a curator, so Loyola, The Hyde and now The Brauer, they’ve always been described as hidden gems. Not enough people know about them,” Canning said. “It seems to be my specialty to find the hidden gems.”
Canning went to Valpo for various reasons.
“I wanted to come back in a university setting with students, who I could mentor, and fellow university students,” Canning said. “It was interesting working at The Hyde. I was the only conservative, I was not surrounded by academics. Coming back into a setting with other people and ideas is really exciting for me.
Canning speaks highly of the Brauer’s collection, but also has high expectations for its future.
“His [the Brauer] surprising. It’s a really solid collection,” Canning said. “But it will be a real challenge to reopen the Museum. I will focus on meeting the needs of the university community, and hope to do so in stages. I would like to see him grow in the life of the university and cooperate with the many departments and programs with which we hope to work [music and theater departments].”
The timeline for the reopening of the Brauer is still in the works, but we can be sure that, in Canning’s hands, the collection is in great shape. More information about the Brauer Museum of Art can be found at valpo.edu/brauer-museum-of-art.