Mondays @ the Museum Behind-the-Scenes – Week 2: Reading Art

Week 1 Intro to the Museum 

Week 2 Gallery/Topic Exploration: Reading ART

Week 3 Gallery/ Topic Exploration: looking through a Social Studies lens 

Week 4 Gallery/ Topic Exploration: looking through a S.T.E.M. lens 

Week 5 Gallery/ Topic Exploration: Experiencing with Performing Arts 

Week 6 Review and culmination exercises

MONDAY: September 21, 2020

Last week I made this comment: This course is different. It’s actually not only about the art. It’s about HOW you interact with the art, artifacts, space and content of whatever museum you visit be it in person or online. What connecting threads of interest can we follow through the museum?”

Well, this week was all about the art AND how we interact with that art!

What we got to do this Monday, was spend all of our time really focusing on the idea of what art is and all the different ways we can engage with it, online or in-person. We used two very different paintings, each exploring a theme around Autumn/Harvest. One was from the 16th Century and the other from the 20th.

“I liked the Pollack [Autumn Rhythm] the best because it made me feel lots of different emotions! The other one only let me feel one or two emotions. I like how excited I felt looking at it.”

4th grade Mondays @ the Museums Zoom class participant

When I go to museums, my first goal is to walk through and soak in the whole space. I skim the surface and get a big picture of what there is to explore. I then like to take a break or have a snack and then, it’s time for the real adventure. What, from my walk-through jumped out at me? What pieces stuck in my head through the break? Then I look at my map, find where that was and go back to take time, look closely, question and wonder. Providing the students with access to similar exploration skills and making them part of their museum-going habit, is essential. Life isn’t curated for us, but if we are able to step back and look at the big picture, it might be easier to take that first, next step.

As a museum educator, I love all the different ways in which my colleagues approach how to connect visitors with the art and artifacts they have on display. For many, the Visual Thinking Strategies approach fits best by providing three simple questions that can unpack art on a myriad of levels and open up amazing conversations that can bleed into the rest of the day or back into the classroom. HERE is a link to learn more about the VTS method and how it can impact classroom learning across subjects. I love their statement:

We believe thoughtfully facilitated discussions of art make education more engaging, inclusive, and equitable.

I finish this post with a link to a video from the National Galleries Scotland that I find incredibly insightful and helpful when learning how to look at art. I love how these students are able to use those amazing speaking and listening skills to describe and express their observations:

The arts, it has been said, cannot change the world, but they may change human beings who might change the world.

Maxine Green

#zerotohero #artseducation #museumeducation #museums #virtuallearning #mondaysatthemuseum #howtolookatart #fineart

Check out the website & purchase the course today!

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