Arthur Mehrhoff


A noiseless, patient spider,
I mark'd, where, on a little promontory, it stood, isolated;
Mark'd how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding,
It launch'd forth filament, filament, filament out of itself;
Ever unreeling them – ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you, O my soul, where you stand,
Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing – seeking the Spheres, to connect them;
Till the bridge you will need, be form'd – till the ductile
Anchor hold;
Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O My Soul.

Like Walt Whitman’s noiseless, patient spider, my role as Academic Coordinator is to weave together the ‘filaments’of the Museum of Art & Archaeology, goals of the University of Missouri, interests and expertise of university faculty and departments, as well as various aspects of my own life and work, in order to create a strong web of relationships that support the Museum’s historic role as a teaching museum.

In particular, my work as Academic Coordinator for the Museum relates to wider university efforts to improve the higher education experience. Higher education currently receives much criticism for its lack of “workforce preparedness”. However, as management expert Peter Drucker observed, “The future is so uncertain, you might as well create the one you want.” Higher education in this view actually needs to emphasize the humanities themes of empathy, understanding, critical thinking and creativity which a special place like the Museum of Art & Archaeology offers students. “Workforce preparedness” then becomes a welcome outcome of a well-rounded higher education.

Far-sighted academic and business leaders increasingly share this view of the Museum’s special role in higher education. “The arts are valuable in the real challenges we face in educating students in this century,” said John L. Hennesey, president of Stanford University. “They are helpful when it comes to building creative skills – or tooling that ability to think outside the box, as well as teaching students to understand the increasingly diverse multicultural nature of the world and the evolution of societies.” Matthew W. Barrett, Chief Executive Officer of Barclay’s Bank in London, stresses the importance of a liberal arts background for success in business. He maintains that a young person who can analyze the patterns of imagery in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales can also learn how to break down a balance sheet. The arts and humanities are really essential, not peripheral, to a quality university education.

Mehrhoff Group

Textile class
2012 Academic Year Report
PDF file