Woodson Art Museum Extends the Classroom

By: Jayna Hintz, curator of education on October 3rd, 2012

“Tell me, and I forget.  Show me, and I remember. Involve me, and I understand.”
This saying comes to mind when I share the importance of museums as an extension of the classroom.

During class visits to the Woodson Art Museum, students acquire skills and knowledge necessary for success. Students learn, connect, and expand their critical, analytical, and creative thinking; they learn from original artworks and objects that aren’t available in a classroom.

Learning from actual objects, rather than reproductions, strengthens students’ understanding that art reflects and captures human history, cultures, and the environment. During my own art history classes, viewing image after image of artworks on a screen didn’t yield the same excitement I felt when seeing the original artworks in museums. In galleries, I could see evidence of human contact: brush strokes on canvas, a mosquito embedded in artwork painted en plein air, fingerprints left in a clay model and captured forever when the sculpture was cast in bronze. An artist’s fingerprints are evident here, too, cast in bronze on Bart Walter’s Ostrich located in the Museum’s sculpture garden.

During a docent-led, object-based learning experience at the Woodson Art Museum, students look
at sculptures, paintings, or artifacts and respond to open-ended and guided questions to discover
the role and importance of artworks in our world – past, present, and future. Students are encouraged
to share what they know, sense, and feel about an object. Discussions ensure that students
make connections to their own experiences and other students’ varied cultural and personal perspectives, too.

While gaining that deeper understanding, students develop problem-solving skills, new vocabulary, self-discipline, tolerance, and critical thinking that carry over to other areas of study.

Encourage the teachers you know to schedule classroom visits to the Woodson Art Museum and explore the exhibition resources and pre- and –post visit materials to extend their students’ learning. Wonders await!


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