The Asian Art Museum answers a question about one of their exhibitions. This is similar to American Art’s Ask Joan of Art program but much less formal. I can see this possibly becoming a great way to answer visitor questions about a museum or a specific work of art.
“I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience.”—David Foster Wallace’s legendary This Is Water2005 commencement address. (via explore-blog)
“Children are not deceived by fairy-tales; they are often and gravely deceived by school-stories. Adults are not deceived by science-fiction; they can be deceived by the stories in the women’s magazines.”—C. S. Lewis on fantasy vs. fact, a timeless and timely reminder of the role of critical thinking in making sense of the stories we’re told. (via explore-blog)
“Some experiments fail. Some exhibit ideas are lame. Some event components are dull. The more we put ourselves out there and live with the good and bad feedback, the more we see negative feedback as helpful to our progress.”—Nina Simon’s latest post on Museum 2.0: Building a Culture of Experimentation
This tour was directed to a very different audience than I have had experience working with on prior tours. I was able to capitalize on the group’s dynamic, knowing that conversations and discussion would happen with little prompt on my part. The trick for me was to present objects that would…
A reflection on a tour I recently led as a final project for one of my graduate seminars at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Check out the work by my colleagues and me, representing our graduate work at the Rhode Island School of Design. The show is up at the Rhode Island Convention Center, Exhibition Hall A, May 18-June 2, open daily 12-5pm, with an opening reception May 17, 6-8 pm.
I have just now ordered two copies of my thesis from Lulu, a self publishing service. In honor of that occasion, I thought I would post my abstract here:
Based on personal experience working with teachers and following research done in the areas of museum education theory, object and inquiry based learning, and interdisciplinary and integrated studies; this thesis document explores the ways in which art objects can be used in the history classroom beyond simple illustration of the time period. On the cusp of an era of educational reform, effectively using object and inquiry based learning can bring the classroom curriculum away from test based fact memorization to experiential learning. Through a rigorous use of museum objects in history classrooms, Rhode Island teachers can engage students in the types of learning outlined by the state grade span expectations and begin to teach students skills deemed necessary for participation in a 21st century society. Alongside an examination of art as documents, close looking at objects, and questioning strategies for discussion, I present objects from the collection of the RISD Museum of Art as an example of the relevance of art in a history context.
It has been an intense and very quick year, but I’m happy with how my book has turned out.
“All ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources.”—Mark Twain on the myth of originality in a letter to his friend Helen Keller, who had been accused of plagiarism. (via explore-blog)
Thank you, NAEA! The National Art Education Association responded to the Getty Museum’s recent employee cuts (19 from the education department alone) in a letter that will be published soon in the LA Times. I couldn’t wait for that to happen, so here’s the letter in full. And for those of you that ask what I’m going to do when I graduate with an MA in museum education, this letter articulates the role of museum educators quite well…
“About half way through finishing my master’s degree I began to realize something. This being that an overwhelming amount of my conceptualizations of the topics being discussed were not necessarily happening from my readings, but from the in class discussions afterwards. The readings simply gave me the terminology and a basis for which I was able to carry on meaningful conversations with my classmates. Now you may be asking yourself, “so what are you saying, I need to go find someone to talk to in order to learn?” Well, my answer is yes. Now I am not saying there are no other ways to learn. As a writer, I certainly support and promote the significance the written word has in our intellectual development. That being said, what might be a good question to ask is what enhances the written word? This is where discussion and debate catapult our understanding of any topic we are pursuing to a higher level.”—The Importance of Continuing Education and How to Achieve It (via world-shaker)
“Recently on Edutopia.org, we published observations from 8th graders about what they believe creates an engaging learning experience. Their answers were straight-forward and definitive: project-based learning, technology, and an enthusiastic teacher. I couldn’t agree more.”—
See differently. See unexpectedly. See art in a new way.
Today my Contemporary Practices in Arts Learning class was fortunate to hear from the director of the Center for Creative Connections at the Dallas Museum of Art. This space is a fascinating experiment in visitor participation in the art museum. It allows for the educators to develop programming and interpretation practices that can truly engage visitors of all ages.
Sound is Art is a blog curated by Margaret Noble and aims to explore and archive the many questions, compositions and ramblings of sound that listeners and creators experience. From abstraction to music, all forms of sound art and experimental recordings are presented there.
You can submit your own works, donate, subscribe and of course listen and read about the other projects presented in the blog, here.
“Smith speaks of venturing beyond art as history and placing new emphasis on the materials and process of art making”…Great interview with the new director of the RISD Museum, John W. Smith. Written by David Scharfenberg, the article speaks of the new direction of the RISD Museum under Smith’s guidance. I wish they had spoken more about exactly how Smith is planning to bring more Rhode Islanders to the museum, beyond making it a “summer art tourism” attraction. But the plan to upgrade the museum’s website and make its 86,000 object collection available online is a great start.
The more deeply we are cast under a story’s spell, the more potent its influence. In fact, fiction seems to be more effective at changing beliefs than nonfiction, which is designed to persuade through argument and evidence. Studies show that when we read nonfiction, we read with our shields up. We are critical and skeptical. But when we are absorbed in a story, we drop our intellectual guard. We are moved emotionally, and this seems to make us rubbery and easy to shape.
But perhaps the most impressive finding is just how fiction shapes us: mainly for the better, not for the worse. Fiction enhances our ability to understand other people; it promotes a deep morality that cuts across religious and political creeds. More peculiarly, fiction’s happy endings seem to warp our sense of reality. They make us believe in a lie: that the world is more just than it actually is. But believing that lie has important effects for society — and it may even help explain why humans tell stories in the first place.
3. Connecting the real world to the work we do/project-based learning
“Students are most interested when the curriculum applies to more than just the textbook. The book is there — we can read a book. If we’re given projects that expand into other subjects and make us think, it’ll help us understand the information.”
What are students looking for when it comes to learning? What things motivate them to learn?
“The truth is that everything you do changes your brain. Everything. Every little thought or experience plays a role in the constant wiring and rewiring of your neural networks. So there is no escape. Yes, the internet is rewiring your brain. But so is watching television. And having a cup of tea. Or not having a cup of tea. Or thinking about the washing on Tuesdays. Your life, however you live it, leaves traces in the brain.”—
Tom Stafford, writing about the anxiety surrounding brain attention spans in the age of the internet.
In short, everything you do changes your brain in some way. It’s better to approach these new cognitive challenges with an even keel, and not through the lens of technophobia.
A must read for fans of the brain and the internet, which you all clearly are (or else you wouldn’t be reading this).
“An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail. Scientists made a great invention by calling their activities hypotheses and experiments. They made it permissible to fail repeatedly until in the end they got the results they wanted. In politics or government, if you made a hypothesis and it didn’t work out, you had your head cut off.”—
“Students need more than facts. They need to understand the relationship between ‘facts’ and whose interests certain ‘facts’ serve. They need to question the validity of the ‘facts,’ to ask questions such as ‘why’ and ‘how.’ They need to know how to find information, to solve problems, to express themselves in oral and written language so their opinions can be shared with, and have influence on, broader society.”—
from “What Should Children Learn?: A Teacher Looks at E.D. Hirsch”
“One of the insidious lessons about TV is the meta-lesson that you’re dumb. This is all you can do […] When in fact there are parts of us … that are a lot more ambitious than that. And what we need… is seriously engaged art that can teach again that we’re smart.”—David Foster Wallace on art vs. TV and the motivation to be intellectually ambitious. (via explore-blog)
The Getty has rethought its approach to education and staff were told this morning that a robust docent program will be more cost effective and reach more children than employing gallery teachers. While it may be cost effective, how will this affect the quality of programming? My favorite quote from the article: ”’I think that was unique to the Getty,’ Cuno said, so reassigning the tours to volunteers would bring it in line with the standard practice at other museums.” So good, rather than being original and forward thinking, let’s fall in line with everyone else. The Getty is well known for its education approach. The whole thought process behind paying gallery teachers rather than just using volunteer docents is that gallery teachers go through extensive training and education to bring experiences to visitors beyond the traditional lecture style tour. I will be interested to see how things progress.