AHTR takes on 2014


Happy New Year! Welcome, for many of you, to spring semester. We are excited about all that is planned for AHTR in the coming months: new collaborations in teaching content and inquiries, the AHTR website re-design, and the growth of the online community through a great line up of spring blog posts.

We had a huge response to our first Call for Participation for art history survey lesson plan content. Funding from the Kress Foundation supports an initial group of grantees that includes art history instructors from Kingsborough Community College, CUNY; Cornell University; Richard J. Daley College, Chicago; The University of Denver; Montclair State University, New Jersey; Winston-Salem University; University of Washington; and Brooklyn College, CUNY.  Throughout spring semester we will be uploading lectures produced through these grants in the areas of:

Ancient Egypt

Ancient Aegean and Greek

Etruscan and Ancient Rome

Art of the Americas (both pre and post 1300)


Early to High Renaissance (both Northern and Southern)

Baroque (both Northern and Southern)

Nineteenth and twentieth century photography

Victorian art and architecture

Modern Art in Europe and the Americas, 1900-1950

Aspects of contemporary art

Issues of race and identity

Transnationalism and Citizenship.

Our second Call for Participation will go out in late spring this year, so please look out for it. We’ll be populating the entire art history survey with lesson plans, and we’re also very open to thematic suggestions (hence their inclusion in the list above). We’re really excited to be able to support teachers develop and share teaching resources and get rewarded for the hard work and skill it takes to do so.  We’ll also be announcing further funds from our Kress Grant to support specific areas of teaching inquiry – more details on this too in late spring.

Your contributions and participation insure that AHTR continues to be a peer-populated site – a site for and by art historians. Thank you to everyone who responded, is writing, or got in touch to say they’d do so later on this year. Our community is steadily growing.

On that note – as AHTR grows in content and in usage – we felt it important to make sure we stay on track to build this community responsibly and transparently.  So, we sat down over the break and wrote an official Mission Statement. We share it here:

 Art History Teaching Resources (AHTR) is a peer-populated platform for art history teachers.  AHTR is home to a constantly evolving and collectively authored online repository of art history teaching content including, but not limited to, lesson plans, video introductions to museums, book reviews, image clusters, and classroom and museum activities.  The site promotes discussion and reflection around new ways of teaching and learning in the art history classroom through a peer-populated blog, and fosters a collaborative virtual community for art history instructors at all career stages.

The site centers on supporting learning in the classroom, in the museum, and online by blending traditional and technological pedagogical approaches.  Resources such as Smarthistory.org, Khanacademy.org, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Timeline of Art History inspire the site.  AHTR strives to create similarly engaging materials to support arts instructors, especially in the foundational art history survey class where students of all majors learn transferable skills in order to critically analyze their worlds through visual means.

We’re also very excited to have trusted colleagues and mentors on board. We established a Board of Advisors who will serve as ambassadors for the site, bringing the work of our contributors to a wider audience and providing regular feedback. Since the site is a peer-populated project we looked to our peers whose professional contributions to the field we admire: Renee McGarry, Mike Murawski, Beth Harris and Steven Zucker. Find their short biographies below.

Welcome to the new Board of Advisors, and welcome and thank you to all of the new contributors for sharing your knowledge with our large community of art historians. We are looking forward to a great year. As always, get in touch with your suggestions, comments, and ideas. This project is built for you and by you.


Renee McGarry serves as Senior Instructional Designer at Sotheby’s Institute of Art working with faculty members to develop and design online courses and use educational technology. Renee writes on pedagogy and contributed the first AHTR blog post “Notes on Online Teaching, last fall as well as published “Classroom Rules” in JiTP, The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy. She specializes in Pre-Columbian art and architecture and writes on the flora and fauna in Aztec stone sculpture. She contributed, among other essays, “Flora and Fauna,” to Mexicolore and “Primitivizing the Island: The Eclectic Collection of ‘Non-Western’ Imagery on Lost,” Looking for Lost: Critical Essays on the Enigmatic Series (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2011).

Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker are the founders and executive editors of Smarthistory.khanacademy.org, an award-winning site for teaching and learning global art history, which currently features more than 550 videos and 250 essays by more than 70 academic contributors. In 2011, they joined Khan Academy as Deans of Art & History. During the fall 2013 semester, Smarthistory was visited more than 2 million times from more than 200 countries. Both Beth and Steven have extensive experience teaching online and in the classroom for both university students and museum audiences. Beth’s area of expertise is Victorian art, and nineteenth-century European art more broadly. Steven focuses on 20th century art and theory. Both have taught nearly every permutation of the art history survey and as well as numerous specialized courses at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Mike Murawski currently serves as the Director of Education & Public Programs for the Portland Art Museum in Oregon, and is the Founding Editor of ArtMuseumTeaching.com — a collaborative online forum for reflecting on issues of teaching, learning, and experimental practice in the field of art museum education. Mike earned his MA and PhD in Education from American University in Washington, DC, focusing his research on educational theory and interdisciplinary learning in the arts. Prior to his position at the Portland Art Museum, he served as Director of School Services at the Saint Louis Art Museum as well as head of education and public programs at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University. Mike currently serves as the Pacific Region Representative Elect for the Museum Division of the National Art Education Association, is involved with the MacArthur Foundation’s Connected Learning initiative, and recently served as a member of the Advisory Board for the New Media Consortium’s Horizon Report 2013 Museum Edition. He is passionate about how we can come to see museums as creative sites for transformative learning and how we can take full advantage of the powerful types of learning, public participation, and community engagement that museums can offer.

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