BC: The End
FC: Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens School Tour Fifth Grade Special Analyzing a Museum-School Tour Collaboration Jill Cross
1: The Challenge: Create a museum program that seamlessly integrates specific 5th grade Social Studies content into a current Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens education program.
2: Teachers at Ortega Elementary were looking to incorporate museum objects into a unit on Great Americans. They approached the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens hoping Director of Education Susan Gallo could customize the standard 5th grade museum tour to include more works of art from the United States, specifically portraiture (A. Kogelman, personal interview, March 27, 2012).
3: The Cummer fifth grade tour was already aligned to state standards in language arts, visual arts, and social studies. According to the museum website, during this tour students "will learn that messages can be 'read' through the symbols used in works of art" (Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, 2012). The challenge was to work within this format to introduce students to historical figures and their contributions to society. This program will be analyzed according to Kim Fortney's (2010, pp. 32-33) solid museum experience components as described in the following pages.
4: Solid Museum Component #1: "development that occurs well in advance, incorporating teacher ideas along with those of other museum staff" (Fortney, p. 32). | Solid Museum Component #2: "planning that takes place with teacher input before students arrive" (p. 32).
5: Teachers corresponded via email and phone regarding the tour. It was decided the Cummer would use their typical fifth grade tour format which focuses on symbolism. Museum educators replaced the usual tour stop in the antiquities gallery with a stop in the American wing to introduce students to American portraiture. Susan Gallo, Director of Education at the Cummer, briefed volunteer docents on the unit of study and the changes to the tour.
6: Solid Museum Component #3: "clear learning goals, tweaked by audience characteristics" (p. 32).
7: Fifth grade classroom teachers were hoping to use museum resources to supplement the instruction of one of their standards: to identify the roles and contributions of significant individuals during various periods of U.S. History. This goal was articulated to museum staff. Based on students' prior museum experience and knowledge, museum educators chose to focus on two Cummer collection items to address this learning goal. These were Healy's Portrait of Andrew Jackson and Stuart's George Washington.
8: Solid Museum Component #4:"clearly articulated relevance to curriculum of targeted schools and academic standards in every applicable subject area" (Fortney, p. 32).
9: Museum docents discussed with students how the museum visit complemented the Great American unit being taught at school. They referred to the exhibition the students would be creating at the end of the unit and asked students to make connections between the museum visit and the unit of study. This allowed students to see relationships between museum objects and academic content.
10: Solid Museum Component #5: "sufficient time well used" (Fortney, p. 33).
11: The fifth grade tour was a total of 90 minutes, with time spent equally in the gallery/gardens, the Art Connections hands-on area, and the studio. Students were given time to interact directly with the docent and time for exploration in Art Connections and in the studio space.
12: Solid Museum Component #6:"enough staff or volunteers so that groups can be divided into fewer than 25 students" (Fortney, p. 33).
13: The school group was divided into three small groups of about 20 students each. These groups rotated between the gallery/gardens, ArtConnections, and the studio. Each group was led by one volunteer docent.
14: Solid Museum Component #7: "a hands-on component that relates directly to the content of the program" (Fortney, p. 33).
15: Students spent free time in Art Connections. They also participated in an art activity in the studio, a printmaking project in which they created a symbol for themselves. While this directly related to the museum's focus on symbolism, the project was not connected to the social studies standards the teachers were hoping to address and the activity did not tie into portraiture which was a main component of the unit at school and an area of focus on the museum tour.
16: Solid Museum Component #8 "pre-visit stage setting for both teachers and students" (Fortney, p. 33).
17: Teachers received pre-tour packets from the Cummer. However, these packets which included discussion questions and images, were based on the fifth grade symbolism tour. Although they did a good job in preparing students for the visit in terms of museum etiquette, receiving additional information or docent notes on the two portraits selected for the tour would have added an additional layer of exposure and would have directly correlated to teachers' needs and museum visit goals. Pages from these pre-visit materials appear on the following pages.
20: Solid Museum Component #9: "post-visit time for students to process learning" (Fortney, p. 33).
21: Following the tour, students returned to school to delve more deeply into their unit on Great Americans. They spent time researching individuals and preparing for an exhibition on Great Americans that would be shared with their families and the community. During lessons on portraiture in art and in the general education classroom, teachers referred to the museum experience at the Cummer and the portraits students encountered. The resulting exhibition included portraiture and a History Alive! component. Teachers reported not using any post-visit instructional ideas that were provided in the Cummer teacher tour packets.
22: Solid Museum Component #10: "evaluation at all stages and the readiness to incorporate findings from these processes" (Fortney, p. 33).
23: There was no formal evaluation evident for this museum tour. Teachers were not provided with an evaluation survey. Following the tour, the museum did speak to a school representative to inquire about the effectiveness of the program. This informal conversation took place via email (A. Kogelman, personal inteview, March 27, 2012).
24: References Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens (2012). School Tours. Retrieved from http://www.cummer.org/education/tour-packets. Fortney, K (2010). "Museum Programs for School Audiences: The Basics." In K. Fortney and B. Shepard (Eds.) An Alliance of Spirit: Museum and School Partnerships (pp. 31-39). Washington, D.C.: American Association of Museums.