Archives for posts with tag: education

I’m so disappointed that I won’t be able to attend Shine A Light! The Portland Art Museum is hosting this amazing event on Friday, and designed it to encourage museum visitors to “rethink what can happen in a museum.” As the director of education puts it,

The Museum itself and its long-held conventions—its galleries, ball rooms, coat closets, tours, exhibitions, and publications—all are rethought, remixed and offered up for our examination, participation, and pleasure. Shine on.

They’re not kidding! The event was planned in collaboration with Portland State University’s awesome graduate program in Art and Social Practice, and includes such activities as:

  • Get a haircut inspired by a work of art
  • Hear a series of short poems read in overlooked spaces (coat closets, storage spaces)
  • Play Petanque in the sculpture court (a game similar to bocce)
  • Dance (either square- or break-)
  • Try beers from local breweries and art-inspired recipes by local chefs
  • Get a free tattoo inspired by a work of art (not necessarily temporary!)

I love the tattoo designs that were created based on visits to the museum. Here are the options, along with the works that inspired them (image source and more info: Art Is Forever)

Portland Art Museum

Check out the Shine A Light 2011 brochure for more information! See you next year?


I recently learned of a new-to-me type of program in museum education: the Rubin Museum of Art offers parent involvement workshops. Schools and communities can request that the museum staff travel to their location and introduce activities that will foster conversation about art, learning, goals, and achievement.

It’s developed specifically to create habits of dialogue between the child and parent, and is designed to be used with any type of artwork, not just items in the Rubin. According to my conversation with David Bowles, the Manager of School Programs at the Rubin, the goal  was to help children and their parents develop new ways of communicating about learning.

I think this is a fantastic idea. The child’s experiences with art are supported from multiple areas of his or her life, parents learn new ways to engage with their child, and the benefits extend into other areas of their relationship. Has anyone participated in or developed a program like this? I’ll do some research and follow up here with any similar programs or information that I find!

A large-scale infographic at the Rubin Museum of Art.

“It is unquestionably good that barriers to the experience and critical enjoyment of art should be removed, be those barriers financial, social, or educational. But it is a poor kind of emancipation that turns potential learners into the passive consumers both of spectacle and of interpretation.”
Charles Harrison

Hello and welcome to Museum Reason!

This is a space to consider art and the many ways that people engage with it. As it would be next to impossible to create an all-encompassing resource for information, my goal is more to provide myself with a forum to save, share, and comment on art and education related ideas that I encounter in discussions with other museum educators, classic museum education readings, museum-generated and museum-related blogs, and the wide world of twitter.

I have two degrees in Art History (an MA from Boston University and a BA from Mount Holyoke College) and I am now contributing to several ongoing education projects at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. My main interests are teacher resources, multi-visit programs, inquiry-based experiences, interactive programming, and museum education theory. I also spent time interning with the Museum of Fine Arts Boston’s education department, working primarily on docent training. I have several years experience teaching in a Montessori environment, as well as several more working with a federally funded program designed to encourage undergraduates from all backgrounds to pursue careers in academia.

I chose the name Museum Reason because that’s what I love to think about – what the reasons for the existence of museums have been, are, and should be. In reasoning out our expectations and aspirations, we are brought up against the limitations of traditional thought about what museums do. But all efforts in this field return to the singular and shared reason for all of these careers – a love of art, and a desire to share that love, to spark it and encourage it in others.

I welcome any comments, questions, ideas, or suggestions that you may have. Thank you for stopping by!