Saturday, October 2, 2010

Art Museum Seeking Teacher Input

I had a great experience today.  I got to be part of a brainstorming session for teachers sponsored by the North Carolina Museum of Art.  As I assume at least the locals (Raleigh-area) know, the NC Museum of Art opened a new state-of-the-art building this spring.  New technology allows the walls to bring in sunlight without damaging the art, which to me, at least, totally transforms my experience of viewing the art.  I love the new building (although my son complains because the building is all rectangular...).

Anyway, with the new building, the Museum is changing lots of other things as well.  So they were sponsoring this session to get input about redesigning their teacher education/support systems, workshops, and tours, both online and in person.  Because their charge is to share resources with the entire state, not just those of us who are lucky enough to live close to the museum, they are particularly looking into ways to do more teacher education online (although they continue to work on teacher workshops and tours and such).

The staff said that in the past, they had tended to try to tie museum resource to particular curricula---so, for example, NCMA painting related to social studies, to science, etc.   They reported that, frankly, that hadn't worked too well.  So they are looking into new ways to organize and present their teacher resources.

They had us do a few exercises involving NCMA paintings that relate to curricula, and then revealed their new approach.  They are working towards organizing resources more along the lines of concepts, such as conflict, perspective, patterns, interdependence, environment, technology, etc.  They are thinking these concepts are a better way to approach the collect because they involved multiple disciplines (since art, math, social studies, language arts, etc. might all talk about the concept of pattern or environment).  They also plan to have things like tags to align resources or lessons with specific educational disciplines or topics, but think the conceptual approach will better foster more curriculum integration among more classes.

Anyway, it was a fun session, but even more, it was a great opportunity for teachers to have a say into how a major state resource is planning to serve them better.   They were very open to suggestions, and asked us to email them if we had more ideas or concerns after some time considering this approach.

So if anyone has any feedback about this idea about organizing the educational resources along the lines of concept, please let me know and I'll will share them with the organizers.  I know they would really appreciate your opinions about how the Museum can best serve educators of whatever variety (public, private, homeschool) or level (preschool-college).

Also, just in the name of full disclosure, I also attended a similar session at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University this summer.  It is wonderful to have these great resources available to us, and even more wonderful that they are reaching out to us and trying to find out how they can best serve us.

1 comment:

  1. Both Jenny Eggleston and I tried to interface with the museum about holding classes here, in my case for math and art. I could not find the right person to talk with, and the people I approached did not get back with me.

    Do they welcome collaboration with event organizers? If so, can they have some sort of collaborative space, calendars, point of contact for organizers to approach them?