What is Mondays @ the Museum “selling?”

Recently I was introduced to a marketing professional who specializes in developing LMS or Learning Management Systems. For those that are unfamiliar with the term (as I was),

“A learning management system is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, automation and delivery of educational courses, training programs, or learning and development programs. The learning management system concept emerged directly from e-Learning.”

Wikipedia

We were discussing my program/product and after I expanded past my basic “elevator speech,” waxing poetic on my long term goals for Mondays @ the Museum, she summarized my product in a very different way than I had expected. “Oh, I see. You’re an interesting person and your selling a product that will help others be interesting too.” Well,…yes, I guess so. It’s not often I’m stumped in a conversation, and this was one of those rare moments. I had not thought of it that way at all.

While pondering her comment later, back in my home office, I was reminded of a video I used to use religiously with teenage students that I mentored as part of various arts or museum career development programs at my past institutions. It’s a presentation to teachers, given in 2008, on key 21st Century skills students need to develop, given by Randy Nelson, the former Dean of Pixar University. The presentation is titled, “Learning and Working in the Collaborative Age.” You can watch it HERE on Edutopia to get the full presentation. However, in light of this post, there is a particular part about becoming an “Interested” vs. “Interesting” person that always stuck out to me.

Although the LMS expert had referred to me as “Interesting,” I think she meant “Interested.” As Randy says in his presentation, “…interesting…[is]easy to get. Interested is tough. That’s a real skill…” Anyone can be interesting. I could be interesting with my fashion or my hair style or the way I speak or even my choice in tattoos or piercings. Interested means much more. I think she mean interested, because to enjoy learning, you must be interested. I am interested. I’m interested in finding out how people of all ages and backgrounds can also enjoy learning and find interest in all sorts of learning. I’m interested in Archaeology even though that’s not my specialty or even close to my field of expertise. I’m fascinated in how we know what we know about our human past. I’m interested in all different types of art museums because I’m interested in all the many ways humans communicate emotion and stories and experience through various forms of expression. I’m interested in all kinds of music and voices because I’m interested in why and how different voices and sound combinations sound the way they do and make me feel the way I do when I hear them. I’m interested in Science and Technology and Engineering and Math because I’m interested in how everything around me works.

And yes, I’m interested in sharing my interest and passion and hope that others will also become interested in expanding what they understand about the world. From my experience, museums are fantastic tools and resources for this type of activity.

I’m working on being more specific in my approach to the development of videos that will be most helpful to spark this life-long interest in all of us. Now that STEM @ the Museum is out, I most likely will be harnessing the original session 3, Through the Lens of History, and expanding on questioning skills around artifacts and history. Stay with me! More is coming! OH! And check out the You Tube video from last week’s presentation with Varsity Tutors: Questioning King Tut: Asking Questions Like and Archaeologist!

Questioning King Tut: Think Like an Archaeologist

I am NOT an Archaeologist. BUT, I have learned enough from their research and hard work to want to think (and especially ask questions like them)! Today, I’m taking a bit of a break from Mondays @ the Museum specific content to polish and rehearse for a “live” online tour of the Discovery Center of Idaho’s exhibition, King Tut: Treasures of the Tomb in partnership with Varsity Tutors, this Wednesday, November 18 at 5pm MST/ 7pmEST.

This week the state of Idaho stepped back into phase 2 of our re-opening plan in response to rising COVID-19 cases. As our museum has to cut back our in-person access to our exhibition, I am thrilled that we get to share our space virtually with a national audience!

As of this morning, over 5,000, nation-wide, have registered, and it’s growing! wow! No pressure!

Here’s a snippet from the Varsity Tutor class site for a little taste:

What can we learn about history by asking questions? Join the Discovery Center of Idaho on an expedition through time and their King Tut: Treasures of the Tomb exhibition. We’ll explore the stories we can uncover just by looking closely at and asking questions about the objects and materials left behind in King Tut’s tomb.

https://www.varsitytutors.com/courses/star-discovery-center/dp/dd67aace-3b80-4c0e-bde2-1deb40f1233d

(I guess, I’m not straying too far from the original Mondays@ the Museum course through the Met! Class 3, we explored the same topic. Funny enough, my daughter’s 3rd grade teacher is using the course with her class, and when I got home from rehearsal at the museum, my daughter greeted me with, “Mommy! You were my teacher again today! We learned about Archaeologists and a carving with a human face and wings.” Learn more HERE. )

Make sure to click HERE to register for Wednesday’s FREE Varsity Tutor Class and next week, I’ll get back to Mondays @ the Museum, but for now…I’ve got to rehearse!

STEM @ the Museum: Educational Video

It’s alive!!

“Viktor Nikolanstein & Alexgor (El jovencísimo Frankenstein)” by Jaime Nicolau is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

STEM @ the Museum is the next iteration of the Mondays @ the Museum product development experiment. Similar to Frankenstein’s monster, this video takes and modifies parts from Session 4 of the Tour the Met course: “STEM at the Museum.” Hopefully, different from that poor monster, these re-used clips and re-written script and class flow show a more refined approach to introducing children (and teachers) to an elegant intersection of the Arts and Sciences by way of the museum as a platform.

So as not to repeat the same blog that I wrote to explore the previous STEM at the Museum live class. I’ll try to keep this short and share in an entirely different direction.

3 Ways I’m like Dr. Frankenstein

  1. Dr. Frankenstein was driven to utilize his passion and talents to try and create life out of a sense of loss. I am driven too by a sense of loss, to a point. This project is a project of passion informed by my talents & experience, but only so much as I was forced to find a passion to fill a loss of income when I was in dire need of that income and focused on a talent and a certain set of experiences that seemed easier to pull from in my current setting and with the tools at hand.
  2. Dr. Frankenstein collected an assortment of random and untested tools to create a make-shift lab, in a secluded, damp workspace and machine with which to create his monster. I have also assembled quite an assortment of new tools with which to create my monster and continue to build my machine with tools such as: Elegant Teleprompter App, a bendy phone clip to attach the teleprompter to my computer, an assortment of (old fashioned, found in the basement) clip on lights to provide proper video lighting (and to hide the dark circles under my eyes), my live-class is recorded in my basement near a front loading washer that needs some mold -clean up, and I just downloaded a new video editing software to combine my different limb-like clips.
  3. Dr. Frankenstein was somewhat of an outlier amongst his fellow medical students. While I wouldn’t say I’m really an outlier, I AM the only one of my peers (save maybe one that I can think of) that has chosen to explore the monetization of museum education outside of the constraints of a particular museum or institution’s infrastructure.

3 Ways I’m not like Dr. Frankenstein

  1. I am not trying to create life, nor seeking to destroy that which I have created because I’ve made it with such abandon that I forgot it might need some good TLC to keep growing.
  2. I am not a Doctor of any kind
  3. I am not crazy…or am I? Mwah ha ha ha ha!

Rethinking the product, aka. Pivoting

Today I spent my time re-writing a single lesson. But it’s SO MUCH BETTER! The change was sparked by one phone call, or voicemail message. I had previously pitched my initial course product to my daughter’s 3rd grade online school teacher, to get her insight and to see if she might be interested in trying it out on her class. What I think my gut knew, but my laziness and eagerness to follow through on my initial intent didn’t want to acknowledge, is that teachers need very specific things. Not whole, 6-part video series at 30 minutes a pop. Even if they can modify and cut down the 6 part series, they don’t have the bandwidth to do that. You must give them EXACTLY what they need in an easy to implement package. She asked if I was interested in presenting my STEM session to her class. Yeah, totally! I kicked myself for missing the obvious, from years of working with teachers, for the wishful thinking of a quick buck. Ugh!

So, today, I modified my 4th session and completely re-thought my next steps in the development of my product. BE SPECIFIC. I have a 4th grader and a 3rd grader. So, essentially, this is my 3rd time through 3rd grade, (including my own experience). My product this year, will be geared towards 3rd grade. This also provides far more structure to work with, as I can be even more specific in my content standard connections. I love to think in the one-room-school house mindset, where all can learn from various entry points, but that, unfortunately in this setting, is not practical. The best part is, that being home with my 3rd grader as they make their way through their online curriculum, I’m able to glean what kind of content focus is actually happening and how it’s being disseminated to the students. I will also be offering each class in three ways, each at a different price point.

1. PowerPoint/Google Slides + script & quiz

2. Video + PowerPoint/Google Slides+ script & quiz and

3. Personal delivery (over zoom/google classroom) + Video + PowerPoint/Google Slides + script & quiz.

Having gone through the full 6 part series of the Met, I now have the foundational content that I can build upon for more bite-sized material that is easier to market and easier to consume. I still say, no harm in going big right out of the gate, but I’m starting to find my stride.

Be on the lookout for a new and improved: STEM @ the Museum class with 3rd grade specific learning goals following CCSS-Math, NGSS and National Arts Standards, expert-led explorations with fun-pattern finding exercises through the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s virtual #metkids platform and assessment tools (easy quiz) for classroom integration.

With a product to sell, I will begin to rev back up my marketing plan and keep this party going.

Mondays @ the Museum: The Experiment Continues

There’s a risk in putting yourself out there. Since August, when I first came up with this crazy idea, published this website, created the M@M Facebook page, Instagram account, Teachers pay Teachers marketplace, Linked-in & Pinterest accounts, I’ve felt somewhat naked. There’s a certain comfort in hiding behind a resume, or behind the reputation of the company you work for. Going out on your own, without the staff or access to resources provided by an institution and promoting your own, self-made product related to the very thing that your resume touts as your professional expertise can be not only daunting, but down-right terrifying. That terror doesn’t even compare to the financial needs that must be filled, a major influencer in starting this in the first place, and the fear of ending up even worse off financially than when you started.

And what about reputation?! OMG. The anxiety that keeps me up at night from imaginary responses of past colleagues and admired professional connections: “Poor Emily, she’s lost it,” or “Well, I guess she’s not as smart as we thought she was,” or “I regret supporting her in xyz…” or “She should know better” or “what is she thinking?!” When I look for market equivalents to my product, there are none. There are so far no for-profit online, museum education platforms (that I’ve found). I’m either a visionary or delusional. This extreme vulnerability, the unsettling ambiguity, the adrenaline rush that comes with this gamble is what so often drives (and often times sidelines) the entrepreneurial spirit. This is what I believe to be the spirit or necessary insanity that fuels the arts and sciences. Whether visionary or delusional, hopefully I can spark a new idea toward a new direction that ends up being beneficial to many.

Of course, it seems obvious to me. Singers teach voice lessons to make money. Pianists teach piano lessons to make money and so on. (I even took a course my senior year in college about how to start a voice studio and pay taxes because the university knew that we would need to make money.) Why shouldn’t there be museum lessons? With or without virtual access to collections, Museum Educators can teach the same observational and questioning skills, content and wonder away from the gallery, to enrich future gallery visits at ALL museums. I spent a good 10 years in my 20’s as a sole proprietor of a voice and piano studio that provided me my income, from which I paid taxes and was able to provide training in music to students, most of whom had little intention of becoming professionals. These music lessons didn’t lessen the work I did as a performing singer at the opera or little theater and it provided skills and exposure to a new generation of patrons for the arts. It also intensified my own skills in voice and piano as I was constantly learning from my students and having to stay in tip top shape as a musician. These music students with these skills helped to provide deeper appreciation for the mastery of the musicians on the stage. With this deeper appreciation, there is a greater value added to the experience which leads to the willingness to spend more for the ticket to see the performance. Orchestra members teaching music lessons on the side don’t hinder the orchestra’s ability to create revenue. Instead it creates an eco-system that sustains interest and buy-in to that industry. The two girls I reached over the last 6 weeks for sure, have a greater appreciation for museums and now new skills and tools to use in future visits. They will share that excitement with their parents and, voila! We build on to that eco-system for museums. Mondays @ the Museum hasn’t lessened my work at my institution, rather, it’s enriched it by providing me new skills that I can share with my institution as well as a reminder of the joy that gallery and museum education provides to me, which in the end will benefit the museum I work for(financially!) It’s a win win!

So what now? I’m approaching my 90 day review. How is Mondays @ the Museum doing? Is this viable? Where do we go from here? (plus a million other questions)

For the past 6 weeks I’ve had the intense pleasure of spending every Monday morning with the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s online collection with one 1st grader and one 4th grader. These two girls were excited and eager every Monday do learn something new. It was an amazing way to kick off every week and remind me of how much I love seeing the spark of learning in people’s eyes, even virtually and how much there is to learn from museums. I spent the past 6 weekends planning lessons, creating presentations, mapping my way through #metkids and learning how to produce online classes and making recordings. I explored all the major social media platform promotional opportunities and became versed in creating & writing marketing copy and graphics. I wrote 6 blogs, created a LLC, wrote multiple small business grants, reached thousands of viewers, even sold a course to someone in New Jersey and my business has brought in $235 total and spent over $1000. Net loss, (many) lessons learned.

I plan to spend the next 6 Mondays revising my product by amplifying the quality and content based on what I’ve learned. I plan to spend the next 6 Mondays continuing to share via this blog. I plan to spend the next 6 Mondays reaching out to new partnerships, new markets and possible profit-sharing platforms. I plan to spend the next 6 Mondays doing the same as the last. Learning and doing. (and hopefully making a little profit.)

I would love your help! If you are reading this and are interested in where this experiment is headed, I would very much appreciate your feedback and ideas!

“An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it.”

Roy Ash

Mondays @ the Museum Behind-the-Scenes – Week 6: Review and Culmination

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: October 19, 2020

“Can we please meet again next week for another visit to the museum?!”

1st grade Mondays @ the Museum Live-Zoom class participant, at our “goodbye” time

Today was a bittersweet final live-zoom class for Mondays @ the Museum. While I am somewhat thrilled to have my Monday mornings back, I am truly going to miss these intelligent, eager learners that I’ve been blessed to have called my students for the past 6 weeks.

My intent with this course is first for the student: to provide useful skills that can be applied in any museum or learning space, whether in-person or virtual, to better appreciate and engage with a broad range of collections, using the Met as a jumping off point. My intention for the adults viewing or participating (or watching in the background) is also to provide skills for learning and observing and leading their child through intentional questioning in multiple situations. It is also to “unbox” the #metkids platform, (and eventually other museum collection virtual platforms). This intent is primarily so that the virtual collections that have taken years to develop and produce and share are used to their greatest impact! I love seeing lists of the “15 best virtual museum visits” for parents and teachers going around on Pinterest. But, I am concerned that just access isn’t enough. The guide can make all the difference and I LOVE being that guide!

Today the students guided me through the exploration. Now, armed with prior knowledge of museum, art& artifact terminology, the right questions for the right contexts and a general sense of ownership and solidity with the space and collection, the students took the wheel and we had a blast!

At one point the 1st grader pointed to an interactive part of the “Time Machine” tool that I hadn’t noticed before. We clicked and had a good laugh as the time machine “broke” with a theatrical crack and we were chided playfully by the site while being given a random art-work to explore together. Try it out for yourself HERE

Funny enough, both classes found their way to a Western Apache animal skin cloak, without any nudging from me, which we interacted with in completely different and fascinating ways!

For the next few Mondays, I will be taking the day off from zoom instruction, but will continue to write about and work to amplify the materials and content for Mondays @ the Museum and all of its future iterations with all the wonderful insights I’ve soaked up from my amazing students.

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 #stemeducation #steam #stemcareers #inquiry

Check out the website & purchase the course today!

Mondays @ the Museum Behind-the-Scenes – Week 5: Through the lens of Performing Arts

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: October 12, 2020

My previous museum positions had me working hand in hand with the performance arts in the development of onsite presentations to supplement and amplify the art and themes presented in our permanent and changing exhibitions. One year we partnered with the Thelonious Monk Institute to create original jazz works to complement photographs from tribal Africa, while another year we hired period musicians to re-create the sounds of medieval feasts with presentations of sword play and jousting. Art is only 2 (or 3) dimensional without the performing arts, and we all know life has far more dimensions!

Just like in visual art such as paintings and sculptures, the stories of our emotions are sometimes too difficult to communicate with words. So we use things like music or gestures or dance. Sculptures and paintings are still moments in time. Music and Dance and Theater place those moments in context and play with the before and after stories to make us ponder.

Throughout the past weeks of our course, my students and I have been exploring the stories found in museums and how to find them. We can find stories by reading the art, asking questions, or even allowing mathematical patterns to guide our eyes. This week we approached the space of the museum through different lenses. We imagined what a dancer might look for or see when they enter a space or what a musician might hear or notice when looking at a painting.

Today we listened to a dancer share his story of how the art at the Met inspires his ballet and then we used all of the observational skills we’ve been developing over the past few weeks to break apart the music we saw in Kandinsky’s lithographs. We also made our own Kandinsky & music inspired works of art. Of course, all of ours, including mine, looked a bit more scribbly than artistic, but all good art must start somewhere!

So often visitors and museum professionals get caught up in the academics, the provenance or the value of the art, that we lose sight of the human intent. Providing access to the performing arts in the galleries and in-museum theaters can help re-create that sense of inspiration and connect us to the art viscerally. This weekend I watched Jack White on SNL and was deeply reminded of the fully visceral and yet out of body visual that live channeling of the muses looks like. That performance could be considered a museum celebrating the muse of music.

I will end this blog by sharing a link to an amazing group of educators who are known for their incredible teaching artist training in the Los Angeles area. The dancing and performing duo (and my former neighbors) from BluePalm have tapped exactly what we touched on in today’s class artistic perception and how to teach and experience it.

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 #stemeducation #steam #stemcareers #inquiry

Check out the website & purchase the course today!

Mondays @ the Museum Behind-the-Scenes – Week 4: S.T.E.M. at the Museum!?

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: October 5, 2020

I have really been looking forward to this week! This topic often gets the most question marks from teachers to parents to colleagues to husbands. However, it may be the most obvious connection of all!

11 years ago, I was leading a weekly, all-day Saturday, teacher professional development course to Kindergarten through 12th grade teachers in Los Angeles, called “Teaching Our World Through the Arts” at the Skirball Cultural Center. One weekend in October, my father, a visual artist, was visiting from out of town and I invited him to present a session to the teachers on the Divine Ratio and Fibonacci sequence and how to teach math with art. We explored ratios and fractions rules of 3rds and patterns in nature. So much FUN!

It was one of the most raved about sessions, as it provided many of the teachers a new way to view mathematics and a new tool to teach it with: art!

As an Education Director at a Science Center, I work mostly on sharing STEM concepts to our community in an accessible and engaging way, so visitors to my museum can build their literacy in these areas and inspiration to learn more. Not everyone uses the same entry points into concepts and art is often an easier way to introduce the concept that math is mainly just a study of patterns. Because of this, I strongly believe in integrating the “A” for arts into the STEM acronym to create STEAM. As the students and I discovered today, Art and STEM go hand in hand making it silly, in my mind, to separate them.

Here’s a great video made by the Idaho STEM Action Center providing some great visual definitions of STEM!

In today’s session I presented simplified definitions of STEM in an attempt to take away the fog and mirrors that STEM concepts are complex or difficult to understand. We took these simple definitions and explored how Science Technology Engineering and Math are found at Museums and in the art. We explored the paintings to discuss whether or not the artists used the rule of thirds or other patterns to draw our eyes to a story and how the artists themselves integrated the scientific method with the artistic process, such as Claude Monet painting 250 paintings/experiments on water lilies to explore how to show the beauty of how light is represented and reflected off of the pond. With these new observation skills and STEM “lenses” to look through, students now have an engaging game they can play at the museum to see how artists use mathematical rules or break mathematical rules to help tell a story.

I will end this blog by sharing another blog written by my colleague, Haley Hill at the Discovery Center of Idaho exploring not only how math is found in art but in nature and all around us. Golden Spirals

Next week we look at Performing Arts in the museum!

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 #stemeducation #steam #stemcareers #inquiry

Check out the website & purchase the course today!

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

Check out the website & purchase the course today!

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.

vtshome.org

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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