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Art history survey courses are often taught to jumbo classes and/or classes that meet early morning or evening. Teachers for these courses use the same global art history syllabus and most assign a museum paper during their class that asks students to visit a museum to visually analyze a work of art, and to consider the politics of the museum space – how, why and where the artwork is located in the museum, and the museum architecture itself.
It’s not always possible to make a teacher-led museum visit with jumbo or early/late classes. Existing projects such as Google Art Project and Google Maps allow students in the classroom to see some elements of museum spaces, but these short videos (courtesy of a Baruch Teaching & Technology project) focus students’ attention on the museum exterior and interior gallery spaces of selected NYC museums in order to bring the museum space into the classroom lesson.
The museum videos are for use as teaching tools in the classroom. Use them to introduce your students to the space before they visit on their own, or as a discussion exercise once they’ve made their museum visit and before they write their paper.
Some questions for your students to consider (see the Observation Prompts handout for a longer list):
- Start taking notes from the moment you begin to see the museum as you walk up to it from the street. How does the museum building relate to its surroundings? Is it similar, different, larger, smaller?
- What is the exterior interior like? Is it decorated? Can you tell what style of architecture it is? How does it relate to what you see inside?
- What is the entrance lobby to the museum like? How does it shape the beginning of your museum visit?
- Who is attending the museum? What is the general atmosphere like?
- How are the galleries organized? Why do you think the galleries and exhibitions look the way they do? (Think about wall color, lighting, interior arrangement etc).
- How is your object displayed? What other objects is they near to, and why?