AHTR’s Visiting the Museum Learning Resource

AHTR is excited to announce its Visiting the Museum Learning Resource. Over the summer, we’ve been adding new lesson plans, assignment ideas, bibliography, and strategies to help faculty and students better integrate museum visits in their study of art and art history. While adaptable to all academic levels, the materials on AHTR are designed with higher education audiences in mind since the learning resources on many museum websites focus primarily on K-12 instruction.

One goal was to encourage college faculty to resist the “walk and talk” tours where instructors stop in front of specific objects and deliver information to their students. Not only is this traditional approach challenging with larger groups, it is not as effective as active learning techniques that combine elements of guided inquiry with personal agency and discovery. These methods capitalize on the museum as a space for informal learning and give students time to practice close looking, visual analysis, and application of ideas introduced in the classroom. By drawing on the student-led and object-based learning techniques used by museum educators, AHTR’s Visiting the Museum Learning Resource offers activities and assignments that can help instructors reinforce course content, and suggestions to help students supplement their own academic study, as well as feel more at ease in museums.  

While most students understand that objects inside museums have important cultural, ideological, economic, and art historical value, they don’t always recognize the role of museums to shape and reinforce such social status. In order to encourage students to think more critically about the politics of institutional spaces, AHTR created this series of short videos in 2012 with support from the Baruch College Teaching & Learning with Technology Partnership. To further support these goals, additional materials will be uploaded this fall that address historical biases in museum collection and exhibition practice, and that engage with current discourse and change within the museum community today.

Created in collaboration with Baruch College at the City University of New York, AHTR’s Visiting the Museum Learning Resource benefits from a New York State grant of $4,000,000 for CUNY to establish, sustain, and enhance ongoing Open Education Resource (OER) initiatives across its campuses. As an OER that serves an international community of artists, instructors, scholars, and students, AHTR hopes this expanded content will serve as a pilot project to help us build new museum partnerships and continue to grow the site’s resources in the future.  We welcome feedback and suggestions for how we might develop these materials in the coming months. Please contact us at info@arthistoryTR.org to share your thoughts.  

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