Mondays @ the Museum Behind-the-Scenes – Week 3: Looking through a Social Studies lens

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 28, 2020

How the heck do museums know so much about the histories of cultures from so long ago? When we walk through galleries, looking at artifacts and ancient sculptures we see labels next to them that share an amazing amount of information, especially considering that we live now, and these were made way back then.

This is where Archaeologists are super handy, I mean essential. Recently, I put together a resource guide for educators to use to prepare students to visit the King Tut: Treasures from the Tomb exhibition on display at my day job, the Discovery Center of Idaho. Here’s a quick clip from the guide, defining Archaeology.

What is Archaeology?

ARCHAEOLOGY: the study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artifacts and other physical remains

To learn from artifacts, archaeologists ask questions like:

My backyard archaeology dig-site for this summers’ Archaeology Adventure virtual camp at The Discovery Center of Idaho

Who were these people? When did they live? What were they and their families like? Where did they live, and in what kind of environment? What did they eat? What tools and equipment did they use? What contact did they have with other people? How did they organize themselves and their society? How did they organize themselves and their society? How did they organize themselves and their society? And perhaps most of all, what did they think and feel?

11 year old me at the British Museum “geeking out” next to the Rosetta Stone

We can ask questions like this too when we look at artifacts in museums. A favorite challenge of mine is to look closely and ask these questions of pieces on display and make my own hypothesis from close observation and applying my own prior knowledge before I check out the label. It’s exciting to see how close (or how far off) I can sometimes be!

In today’s class we also talked about how paintings can be another great way to learn about history. While most historic paintings aren’t considered to be definitive recreations of historic events, they are so important when learning about how we can paint new meaning into history with just a simple addition of a certain figure or symbol. Art is important in representing more than just the facts of the events, but also the ideologies, and perspectives of humans soon or long after the event took place. Children do this all the time. All those adorable crayon pictures of the world around them are tools for making sense of events and feelings. The better the craft or skill, the more accurate those representations of both the events and the feelings are shared. All the more reason to teach drawing!

Enjoy this VIDEO we watched and discussed this morning for more insight into how paintings tell stories.

Next week we’ll delve even further into the museum world when we take a closer look at STEM in the museum and art.

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 #archaeology #inquiry

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