Archive for September, 2013



Educator Resources: National Portfolio Day

Take a moment and think back to when you were in high school. Do you remember how it felt as you anticipated graduation? Were you excited to move out of your parents’ house and attend college in a new city or state? Did you imagine yourself embarking on a professional career or did you have an idea of what you wanted to do, but no clue how to get there?

Students interested in pursuing a degree and/or work in the visual arts can receive valuable feedback, information, and guidance on National Portfolio Day. During this event, representatives from national and international colleges review student artwork, give feedback, and provide information on their programs. Perhaps most importantly, students gain experience talking about their work and their creative process as well as asking for guidance and advice.

Teen visual artists collaborate on a mural design during the summer 2013 Urban Armor Mural Camp

Teen visual artists participate in a DMA workshop

Dallas National Portfolio Day falls on Sunday, October 6, and is hosted by the School of Visual Arts in New York City.  The event takes places at the Hilton Anatole from 12:00-4:00 p.m. It is free, open to the public, and does not require pre-registration. Teachers, friends, and relatives, please pass this information on to anyone you know who may benefit from this experience!

Melissa Gonzales
C3 Gallery Manager

Visiting the Far East with a DMA Awards to Artists Winner

The 2013 Otis and Velma Davis Dozier Travel Grant recipient, Matthew Bourbon, writes about his art and how he will use the DMA travel grant to visit Japan and conduct research for his painting practice.

Matthew Bourbon, Of Two Minds, 2013

Matthew Bourbon, Of Two Minds, 2013

In order to construct my paintings, I am always on the prowl for something I deem useful to my artistic endeavor. I am an image hunter. In fact, I collect all manner of visual information, sorting items into books and office files (or when I’m less organized, into mounds of paper fragments sitting on my studio floor).

This diverse material is the generative spark that serves as building blocks from which my painted vignettes are born. The “research” material I use is essential to how I function as an artist, because everything I create involves altering and reconfiguring the sources I adopt, replacing the original intent of the imagery with my own set of concerns.

Painting, for me, is a process of gathering, adjustment, refinement, and editing. My paintings are the remainder of this process, revealing the many decisions I make about facture—the accumulated details of how I alter and invent form, color, and pattern, as well as abrogate easy interpretations of subject.

Matthew Bourbon, Made Up Your Mind, 2012

Matthew Bourbon, Made Up Your Mind, 2012

When I was awarded the Dozier Travel Grant for Artists, I was thrilled, because I knew I could go on a long-desired fact-finding mission. For many years, I have been driven to combine Western and Eastern notions of painting. Thankfully, I have been to Europe, and I am steeped in the painted histories of artists like Giotto, Fra Angelico, Piero Della Francesca, and Masaccio. I have not, however, been to Asia. Yet, I have yearned to study the masterpieces housed throughout China, Thailand, and, in particular, in Japanese museums. Feeling rather obsessed with my painting investigations, I need to deepen my understanding of the often compressed and shallow spaces created within great Eastern painting. In the spring of 2014, I will visit the preeminent art collections of Tokyo and Kyoto, with an eye to reverse-engineer screen paintings, woodblock printmaking, and the myriad abstract patterns found within traditional textile design. The Otis and Velma Davis Dozier Travel Grant will allow me to decipher and absorb firsthand information, some of it planned and some of it happenstance. As travel always seems filled with what we intend to do and what spontaneously unravels, how my experiences in Japan will change and enrich my painting is unknown—but change is certain.

I am immensely thankful that the DMA has enabled me to make this trip and fulfill what feels like the necessary and inevitable next step in the development of my art.

Matthew Bourbon

Matthew Bourbon

Matthew Bourbon is an associate professor of art at the College of Visual Arts and Design at the University of North Texas. His work is currently on view at the Texas Biennial at Blue Star Contemporary in San Antonio and at Kenise Barnes Fine Arts in Larchmont, New York. To learn more about his art, visit his website.

We are now accepting applications for the 2014 Awards to Artists, visit the DMA’s website for additional information and to apply.

Friday Photos: Coiffed to Perfection

Have you ever noticed all the artful hairstyles in the DMA galleries?

Semiramis’ curls fall perfectly down her back.

This braided style reaches amazing heights.

By the late 18th century, wide hair was all the rage.

And Jackie’s 60’s flip is always classic. Catch it before Hotel Texas closes this weekend!

Happy styling!

Sarah Coffey
Assistant to the Chair of Learning Initiatives

Iceberg, Straight Ahead!

ice

This week we celebrate a homecoming at the DMA. Frederic Church’s The Icebergs is now back on view after almost a year on tour with the exhibition The Civil War and American Art. Watch the painting’s journey from its travel crate back to the DMA’s American Art Galleries in the video below, and join us for our free lunchtime Gallery Talk at 12:15 p.m. on  Wednesday, September 18, with DMA curator Sue Canterbury to welcome home The Icebergs!

Kimberly Daniell is the PR manager at the DMA.

Meet the New McDermott Interns!

September brings the beginning of the new school year, (somewhat) cooler weather, and–most exciting of all–the new batch of McDermott Interns! As part of the Education and Curatorial Divisions, the McDermott Interns gain valuable experience while exploring museum work here at the DMA. The Education division is happy to introduce three fresh new faces to our blog-o-sphere: Amy Elms, McDermott Education Intern for Visitor Engagement; Hayley Prihoda, McDermott Education Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching; and Amelia Wood, McDermott Education Intern for Family and Access Teaching.  These lovely ladies will be writing many posts throughout the coming year so we wanted to give them a fitting introduction!

Amy Elms
McDermott Education Intern for Visitor Engagement

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I earned a BS in Communication Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.Ed. in Culture & Curriculum focusing on Art Education & Visual Culture from Texas A&M University. Besides interning at the Austin Children’s Museum and Artpace San Antonio, I spent the past two years regularly volunteering with the Harry Ransom Center on the University of Texas at Austin campus. I love to explore the outdoors, especially hiking and swimming. I have a newly discovered love of stand-up paddle boarding, and want to take a rock climbing class in the future!

Which area of the DMA’s collection are you most excited about exploring? 

Cornelis Saftleven, College of Animals, 1655

The DMA’s Asian art collection dates all the way back to the 2nd century and I am amazed by the intricate details that are still so evident in each work of art, whether it’s a sculpture or a woodblock print. While exploring the museum’s galleries recently, I also came across Cornelis Saftleven’s College of Animals and loved the humor and symbolism of the painting. I want to learn more about the meaning behind each one of the animals represented in Saftleven’s work.

Which program or area of the Museum are you most interested in learning about? 

I’m definitely excited to learn more about the Center for Creative Connections since this learning environment will be the focus of my internship. I’m a huge supporter of museums that create innovative, interactive programs to encourage visitors to become more connected with exhibition materials. C3 offers programs and activities to people of all ages and explores ways of using technology to create a more immersive, memorable experience for visitors.

What features of Dallas do you want to experience during your time here?

Besides exploring all of the museums that DFW has to offer, I also really want to visit the Dallas World Aquarium and the Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden, I’ve heard that both places are a must-see during my time here!

Hayley Prihoda
McDermott Education Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching

Hayley

I was raised in Cary, Illinois, a northwest suburb of Chicago. My mom was a stay-at-home mom when I was growing up and persistently, even sometimes to my sister’s and my dismay, brought us to museums, art galleries, musicals, and cultural events. At the time, I didn’t know how much this early exposure to the art world was going to direct my future interests and career aspirations. In the spring of 2012, I studied abroad in London and had the amazing opportunity to intern at the Royal Academy of Arts. After this experience, my aspiration to work in an art museum was solidified. I graduated from Indiana University with a BA in history and minor in art history this past May and spent the last two months as an intern at the National Gallery of Art.

Léon Frédéric, Nature or Abundance, 1897

Which area of the DMA’s collection are you most excited about exploring? 

I am very excited to spend time with the European and American art collections. One of the pieces that first caught my eye in the collection was Léon Frédéric’s Nature or Abundance. I like the colors and intricate details of the work but, most of all, I like the implications of this piece as a statement on the industrialization of the late 19th century. I really enjoy placing works of art in their historical context and using this background as a platform for studying the piece.

Which program or area of the Museum are you most interested in learning about? 

I am very excited to work with the docent program this year. Having spent only one day with the docents thus far, I am already inspired by their passion for the DMA and the pride and enthusiasm they have for their position. I just hope that I can teach them as much as I know they will teach me!

What features of Dallas do you want to experience during your time here?

Being brand-new to Texas, I am really looking forward to embracing all that this area has to offer! Fall is my favorite season and I have heard that October is an especially fun month in Dallas, so I hope to attend the Lamar Street Festival, The Aurora Project, and Index Fest 2, all in the same weekend!  And I am also hoping to fit in a Dallas Cowboys game and a trip to the Texas State Fair! I feel very grateful to have landed this position at the Dallas Museum of Art and greatly look forward to what the next 9 months have in store!

Amelia Wood
McDermott Education Intern for Family and Access Teaching

amelia

I grew up in North Adams, a small town tucked away in the valleys of western Massachusetts. The opening of Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in 1999 not only transformed my hometown but sparked my interest in arts education. I graduated from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts with a BA in Fine and Performing Arts in 2006. After college, I embarked on a career in early childhood education in Burlington, VT, where I took part in the Vermont Child Care Apprenticeship Program. I returned home in 2010 and continued my work in early learning as a toddler teacher at the Williams College Children’s Center. During my final year at the children’s center, I designed a bridge program that organized visits for the center’s preschool and school age children to the Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA). In 2012, I joined the fantastic team at WCMA as the Coordinator of Education Programs and found my calling.

Which area of the DMA’s collection are you most excited about exploring? 

Jess, Arkadia’s Last Resort; or, Fête Champêtre Up Mnemosyne Creek, 1976

I’ve recently gotten back into collaging, so I am most excited by the collage and assemblage artists in the DMA’s contemporary art collection. I’d be thrilled to spend some time with any of the works by Joseph Cornell, Louise Nevelson, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jean Tinguely. And I was  psyched to discover that the DMA owns Arkadia’s Last Resort; or, Fête Champêtre Up Mnemosyne Creek by Jess, who is one of my recent artist inspirations.

Which program or area of the Museum are you most interested in learning about?

During my internship, I’m looking forward to working with children of all ages in the Museum’s early learning classes, family and access events, and Late Night programs. I’m also interested in working with the Go van Gogh school and outreach program, as well as the hands on art-making experiences offered in C3.

What features of Dallas do you want to experience during your time here?

Because I’m new to Dallas–and to city life in general–I’ve enjoyed taking in the sights and sounds of my new home. The Dallas Arts District is an area of interest to me and I look forward to delving into Dallas’ vast arts community in the coming months. I’m also an avid runner, and am training for the Dallas Marathon in December, so I look forward to exploring the downtown area during my long runs.

Special thanks to Amy, Hayley and Amelia for the illuminating information. Keep an eye out for all the great posts and programs these ladies will be sharing with us throughout the year!

Artworks shown:

  • Cornelis Saftleven, College of Animals, 1655,  Dallas Museum of Art, The Karl and Esther Hoblitzelle Collection, gift of the Hoblitzelle Foundation
  • Léon Frédéric, Nature or Abundance, 1897, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund
  • Jess, Arkadia’s Last Resort; or, Fête Champêtre Up Mnemosyne Creek, 1976, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund

Danielle Schulz
Teaching Specialist

McDermott Interns: Where Are They Now?

Each September, the DMA welcomes a new class of McDermott Interns, thanks to the generous support of the Eugene McDermott Education Fund. During their brief nine months at the Museum, the McDermott Interns contribute to numerous projects, from exhibitions to tours to programming and beyond. Their hard work helps make the Museum the dynamic place we know and love!

But what happens after the internship is complete? For some, the stars align and we are able to welcome them into full-time positions here at the Museum. In fact, we have nine previous McDermott Interns, myself included, currently on staff. Others move on to different adventures across the country. I checked in with some of our recent McDermott graduates to see where life has led them.

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Sara Woodbury
McDermott Graduate Curatorial Intern for European and American Art, 2010-2011

My post-McDermott career so far has taken me both east and west. From June 2011 to June 2013, I served as curatorial fellow at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont, a wonderfully eclectic museum with holdings that include American folk art, impressionist paintings, and a landlocked steamboat. When I wasn’t working on exhibits, I experimented with printmaking at a community studio, an interest that developed out of a works on paper exhibit I curated at the DMA. In July 2013, I relocated to Roswell, New Mexico, where I am now the curator of collections and exhibitions at the Roswell Museum and Art Center. Though I’ve only been here a few weeks, I’m happy to be back out west, and am looking forward to the challenges and opportunities of my new position.

Stefanie Logan
Stefanie Kae Dlugosz
McDermott Curatorial Intern for Decorative Art, 2010-2011

After leaving the DMA, I worked as the project assistant at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art on the traveling exhibition Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs 1851-1939, co-organized with the Carnegie Museum of Art. In August 2012, I began a graduate program at Indiana University, Bloomington, and am looking forward to completing my MA in art history next spring. I also currently serve as a graduate assistant at the Indiana University Art Museum.

Logan Acton
McDermott Education Intern for Teaching Programs, 2009-2010

From 2010 to 2011, I held a position at the DMA as assistant to the director of education, which also allowed me to help with activities for the 2010 McDermott Intern class. In July 2011, I moved to Missouri to study sculpture at the Kansas City Art Institute. I’m currently pursuing a studio practice as a visual artist there and am planning to apply for MFA programs soon. I met Stefanie at the DMA during her McDermott Internship and in October 2012 I asked her to marry me. She accepted and we are currently planning our wedding!

Wendy Earle headshot
Wendy Earle
McDermott Graduate Curatorial Intern for Ancient American Art, 2011-2012

I have been really busy in my position as curator of collections and exhibitions at the Museum of the Southwest in Midland, where I have been since May 2012. It’s great working at a multidisciplinary institution that combines an art museum, children’s museum, planetarium, and historic home into one. I am the entire curatorial department, so I get to do a little bit of everything, including picking up artwork from different states, designing exhibitions, creating interpretive activities, giving gallery talks, and writing grants. We are installing or deinstalling exhibitions almost every month. In the past, I only worked with the art of long-dead civilizations, but now I get to work with lots of exciting contemporary artists—a fun new challenge.

Alec
Alexander Unkovic
McDermott Curatorial Intern for Contemporary Art, 2012-2013

In July 2013, I moved back to Philadelphia and started my new job as the administrative and publicity coordinator at The Fabric Workshop and Museum. I am now creating the content for FWM’s social media (Facebook: /fabricworkshop, and Twitter: @fabricworkshop), and I work on publicity and community outreach initiatives. Additionally, my duties at FWM include helping with exhibition budgets, publications, and checklists, coordinating museum openings and events, and maintaining travel arrangements. Being a McDermott Intern definitely helped prepare me for this job. I’m really enjoying myself here, but I sure do miss Dallas and the DMA!

Our newest class of McDermott Interns began last week. During your next visit to the DMA, keep an eye out for Alexa Hayes, Amelia Wood, Amy Elms, Amy Kaczmarek, Hayley Prihoda, Madeleine Fitzgerald, Michael Hartman, and Temple Shipley. We get the pleasure of working with them for the next several months, and we can’t wait to see where they’ll go from here!

2013/2014 McDermott Interns

2013/2014 McDermott Interns

P.S. If you’re interested in becoming a McDermott Intern next year, check our website in January 2014 for the application!

Sarah Coffey is the assistant to the chair of learning initiatives and former McDermott Education Intern for Adult Programming at the DMA.

Make This: Vinyl Toy Mini-Amp

munny

I’m a big urban vinyl toy collector, and I especially love Kidrobot’s Munny line. If you’re not familiar with them, Munnys are customizable figures that are totally suited to makers and DIY-lovers alike. I’ve been tinkering with a few examples to show at this month’s vinyl toy-themed Urban Armor teen workshop with Mark Gutting and came up with both a fun and utilitarian Munny project that I hope you enjoy!

One of the coolest things about Munnys is that you can pretty much turn them into anything you want with the right materials. You can find terrific instructions on how to turn a Munny into a speaker, so I thought I’d combine that idea with an Altoids mini-amp project that I was recently working on to create a Munny mini-amp for an MP3 player or smartphone. What’s nice about it is that the amp provides a little more juice for your music than the speaker alone, and since they are separate components, you can make more Munny speakers and interchange them with the amp. You can also use the amp with most any type of MP3 gadget!

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This is definitely a more intermediate to advanced-level project for ages 13 and up that would be perfect to do over a weekend. You’ll also need a few specialized tools and basic knowledge of circuits and soldering.

What you need:

  • Munny mini-figure
  • Mini speaker: This can be scavenged from an old pair of computer speakers, etc. I used a 1½” speaker to fit the figure’s head
  • Exacto knife
  • Pencil
  • Spray paint (make sure to get one that works on metal and plastic)
  • Altoids tin
  • Mini amp components: I used Canakit’s 5W kit
  • Speaker wire
  • Soldering iron and solder
  • Hair dryer
  • Single hole punch
  • Tin snips
  • Batting
  • Silicone glue or caulk
  • 9-volt adapter
  • Male to male audio cable
Some of the tools you will need

Some of the tools you will need

Step 1: Clean Your Munny

Carefully take apart your mini-figure and give it a nice bath using mild soap to remove any oils, residues, etc.

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Step 2: Cut a hole for the speaker and cable

Using your speaker as a guide, mark a hole on the face of your Munny in pencil. Gently heat the vinyl with your hair dryer, making sure not to let it melt or warp. Cut the hole out with the exacto knife–be VERY careful because the warm vinyl cuts really easily. Test the fit with your speaker and cut away more material as needed.

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Use your knife (or a cordless drill, if you have one) to make a hole at the bottom of your figure’s body for the speaker cable to pass through.

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Step 3: Paint your figure

To make things easier, mount all of the vinyl parts on a styrofoam cup or something similar (I used a bottle and empty salt container) to spray paint. Take everything outside and give them a couple of nice, even coats. I gave the Altoids tin (which will be the housing for the amp) a coat as well, but it’s up to you.

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Step 4: Get your electronics set up

Now’s the time to make sure all of your electronic components are ready to go. Solder wires onto your speaker terminals and put together the amp components. I won’t list all of the steps here, but if you are using the kit I mentioned above, it comes with a great set of assembly instructions.

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Soldering wire to the speaker terminals

IMG_1093

The assembled amp kit

Step 5: Assemble the Munny speaker

Thread the speaker wire through the bottom of the figure’s head, into the hole at the body’s neck, then out through the hole you drilled at the bottom of the body. Fill the head cavity with batting and then pop the speaker into the hole.

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Now put all of the parts to your figure back together:

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The finished Munny speaker

Step 6: Assemble the amp

Use the hole punch to make holes in the Altoids tin to accommodate the volume knob and input jacks for the amp kit. Mount the circuit board in place with the silicone caulk.

IMG_1110

Assembled amp with access to volume knob, audio input, and adapter

Step 7: Plug everything in

Plug the amp into the power adapter, insert the speaker wires into the appropriate terminals, and the audio cable into the input jack. Plug the other end of the audio cable into your MP3 player or other device, adjust the volume of the amp, and crank out some tunes–the sound is actually pretty impressive!

There are multiple ways you can adapt this project, based on the components you have available. For instance, you could power the amp using a 9V battery instead of an adapter. If you come up with any mods or Munny projects of your own, feel free to email me your pics!

JC Bigornia
C3 Program Coordinator

Rewarding DMA Friends

Longtime Center for Creative Connections (C3) visitor and volunteer Mary Burkhead claimed a DMA Friends reward for six of her friends to attend a small-group artist-led art-making session. Mary was one of our first DMA Friends, joining on January 21, the official “opening day” of the program. Mary and I brainstormed about possibilities for this specialized workshop, and she requested a private Think Creatively workshop with Magdalena Grohman, Ph.D., in C3. Mary loves attending the Thursday night adult workshops and was eager to have a special class just for her and the friends that she has made over the past year in the workshops. Read the interview with Mary Burkhead below. I hope she inspires you to keep collecting your DMA Friends points!

Dr. Magdalena Grohman and class in discussion

Dr. Magdalena Grohman and class in discussion

How long have you been coming to the DMA?
Since I moved to Dallas in the mid-80s.

How many DMA Friends badges have you earned?
Oh, gosh, lots! Some more than once. I hate to admit it, but I’m rather greedy about them. I’m still disappointed that I didn’t get the last code needed for the special Neil Gaiman badge. But I did get the special JFK badge!

What is your favorite way to collect points?
By seeing and doing wonderful things in the Museum, of course! Seriously, you earn badges by doing what you already love to do: going to special exhibitions, exploring the galleries, attending workshops, lectures, and special events.

Think Creatively presentation by visitor

Think Creatively presentation by visitor

Why were you interested in claiming the “Small Group Art-Making Session in C3” reward?
I frequently attend the creativity workshops and the Artistic Encounters workshops. I encourage everyone to try them. I always have a wonderful time, and learn a lot. And I’ve met so many wonderful, fun, interesting people. I just loved the idea of having a special session with some of these new friends.

What is your favorite thing to do or see at the DMA?
Well, I have lots of favorites, and I hate to be limited. And the DMA is not limited! One of my favorite artworks is The Icebergs. I will be very glad to see it again when it returns home this month. But there are many other pieces that I also love. I love the workshops, of course. That’s why I selected it for my reward. I also love the Arts & Letters Live programs. I love how the DMA brings together many different types of art. And then there is Late Night! I could go on forever.

Dr. Magdalena Grohman and visitors responding to works of art

Dr. Magdalena Grohman and visitors responding to works of art

How did you choose the people that were going to participate with you in the workshop?
With great difficulty! I wanted everyone who had ever attended a workshop to come, but of course, that’s not possible. So I selected a group of folks who participate frequently and who interact well. That’s important for a group learning experience. Not to mention,  they are all fun, wonderful people!

Visitor in thought

Visitor in thought

What do you value the most at the DMA?
I think the most wonderful thing about the DMA is that it is available to everyone. Art is so important to individual people and to the whole community. I’ve talked to so many people at the Museum who are having fun, experiencing new things, and exploring the possibilities of art. I love that. It’s exciting to talk to people who have come for the first time, or the first time in a long time. It’s nice to talk to out-of-towners who think our DMA is great!

Do you recall a favorite moment at the DMA?
There are so many. But one wonderful moment was being in the Museum late at night–I think it was close to midnight–on the 100th anniversary. There were so many people there, and they were all having so much fun! I’m so glad that led to the monthly Late Nights.

Are you also a DMA Partner in addition to being a DMA Friend? 
I am a Partner, and I also have memberships in several other  local museums. Financially supporting the DMA is a great value for entertainment and education, and also for our community.

Two participants writing to music

Participants writing to music

Amanda Batson is the C3 program coordinator at the DMA.

Friday Photos: Old School

Even though I’ve been out of school for a while now, back-to-school season is always one of my favorites. Aisles of shiny new school supplies in the stores, boxes of crayons with perfectly sharpened tips, stacks of books in lockers, the excitement of seeing friends and teachers–to me, it all brings a sense of anticipation and possibility to the world.

For today’s edition of Friday Photos, I thought we’d go back in time and catch a glimpse of some of our Education staff in their back-to-school glory. Can you find a familiar face?

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Wishing everyone a successful school year!

Leah Hanson
Manager of Early Learning Programs

What Does Fun Look Like at the DMA?

I have written posts in the past about our goals for docent-guided tours at the DMA. Our current goal statement was written five years ago, and I think it’s in need of a few updates. It states that we want students to feel comfortable at the Museum, as well as to begin to see their world in a fresh way. What does that mean, and how can we measure whether that happens on our tours?

4th_Grade_Tours_11_2012_032

Over the summer, I met with small groups of docents to begin redefining our goal for tours. These docents were asked “What are your motivations and desires when planning a tour for the DMA’s visitors?” Their answers were thoughtful and really demonstrate their passion for the work that they do at the DMA.

  • My hope is that they will learn how to “look” in a museum setting and that they will want to return or visit other museums.
  • My biggest goal is to get the students to want to come back and to leave with vivid memories of what they saw.
  • My biggest hope is that even one child sees an object that excites them and makes them want to see more.
  • I want them to leave with more questions than they had when they came in so that they will be eager to come back and enjoy what this museum has to offer.
  • I want the students to feel comfortable, be inspired and amazed, learn a few things, and have fun!
  • My motivation is to share objects that are special to me so that I can bring genuine excitement to them.

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I plugged the docents’ responses into Wordle in order to easily see what words popped up repeatedly. In a word cloud, the size of a word corresponds with the number of times it was entered into Wordle. From this word cloud, it’s obvious that a “fun experience” is the top motivation for our docents when planning tours.

Docent Goal Word Cloud

As a group, the docents and I are now trying to unpack the word “fun.” Just what does a fun experience at the DMA look like? How do we know that students are having fun in our galleries? Do sketching and inventing stories about a work of art lead to a fun experience? Is laughter our best indicator that students are enjoying their tour? These are just some of the questions that we are pondering as we begin our new training year.

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These kiddos certainly appear to be having fun on their tour

Now it’s your turn to weigh in. I would love to have your insight as we move forward with revising our goal for docent-guided tours. How do you know that your students (or children) are having fun at the DMA? What have been some of their favorite experiences here? If you’re a teacher, I am also curious to know what your motivations are when you schedule a field trip to the DMA. It will be interesting to see how your motivations overlap with those of our docents.

Please add your comments below or feel free to email me. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on having fun at the DMA!

Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs


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