Posts Tagged 'docent-guided tours'

Happy National Volunteer Week!

April 23-29 is National Volunteer Week in North America. This special week was created in the 1970s to celebrate and recognize volunteer service across the country. We are so fortunate to have a fantastic group of volunteers at the DMA who support our programs everyday. Since January, DMA volunteers have already donated over 3,600 hours of service and helped create countless experiences for our visitors! In the spirit of National Volunteer Week, we wanted to share a mini volunteer spotlight for each group to celebrate their daily achievements and show our thanks.

Everyday in the Center for Creative Connections, our Junior League of Dallas and C3 volunteers welcome visitors and encourage them to interact with art in new ways. They are always willing to engage in new opportunities when they arise.

Our Docents share their knowledge and passion for the Museum with hundreds of visitors each week. They are constantly researching and learning new things to ensure their tours and access programs are the best they can be.

Arts & Letters Live volunteers help make our many BooksmART and author events possible while serving as ushers, ticket takers, and greeters. Their ongoing commitment to this speaker series makes each year a success.

Go van Gogh volunteers travel to dozens of classrooms each school year, bringing art education to children across Dallas. We truly appreciate their enthusiasm and dedication in delivering these experiences across the city.

Community Engagement volunteers are always happy to lend a hand at special DMA programs including Late Night and Membership events. They are truly one of our most flexible groups!

The Teen Advisory Council is always thinking of innovative new ideas to involve the community and recently launched the Disconnect to Reconnect teen night. We are also looking forward to welcoming a new group of Teen Ambassadors who will join us this summer.

Thank you so much to all of our wonderful and amazing volunteers! You all help make our programs a reality and we sincerely appreciate your ongoing generosity and support. If you are interested in becoming a DMA volunteer, please visit the Volunteer page or email volunteers@dma.org.

Andi Orkin
Volunteer Coordinator for Programming

Teacher Resources: Full STEAM Ahead!

We’ve all heard about the  importance of STEM–science, technology, engineering, and math–to our education system in a technology-focused world, but what about the creative thinking that goes hand-in-hand with these subjects? With this in mind, the Rhode Island School of Design began a push to include art, transforming STEM to STEAM. As an educator, you can find many great STEAM resources here at the Dallas Museum of Art!

For several years, DMA Education Staff and our group of STEAM Docents have been working together to develop and test STEAM tours and activities for multiple three-hour long visits by eighth grade students from Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School. Themes for their visits include Art and Innovation, Design, Engineering, Conservation, and Nature and Art.

"Easy Edges" chair

Frank O. Gehry, “Easy Edges” chair, 1971, Dallas Museum of Art, 20th-Century Design Fund

The objective of their time at the Museum is to emphasize the connections between art, science, technology, engineering and math, especially in how artists and scientists invoke similar practices and ideas. One of their visits explores the innovative design of Frank Gehry’s “Easy Edges” chair. Students learned how Gehry layered corrugated cardboard to a two inch thickness to create an object that is aesthetically pleasing while still maintaining the ability to support considerable weight.

Rangel students creating a cardboard chair that can hold the weight of a doll inspired by Frank Gehry's Easy Edges chair. The catch? No glue or tape!

Rangel students creating a cardboard chair that can hold the weight of a doll, inspired by Frank Gehry’s “Easy Edges” chair. The catch? No glue or tape!

Two of our amazing STEAM docents, Susan Behrendt and Susan Fisk, asked their Rangel students the following question to see what they had learned about STEAM:

How does ART relate to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)? How do they relate to you?

Art relates to STEM because as you think and make the art you have to think about all of the things in STEM. Carefully analyzing the piece and including those things make it more eye catching. They relate to me because the art makes a study. – Genesis, May 2014

Art relates to STEM because we use it everywhere and it’s used to describe some of the events in history. Because of art we know far past back in history. We have to know all of these subjects for a good education. – Gallea, May 2014

Art is in everything. An example is geometry. Geometry incorporates art, science, and math. Another example is architecture. Architecture uses art, math, and engineering. It relates to me because I want to be an architect. – Isabella, May 2014

This spring, we lead our first STEAM in-service training for 170 art teachers from Fort Worth ISD, and released a comprehensive STEAM guide to our docent team. You can schedule a docent-guided tour or a teacher in-service yourself, and come explore the many connections between art and STEM here at the Museum!

Lindsay O’Connor
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs

Take a Summer Safari at the DMA

teen docents 2015 2

This year’s class of teen docents.

This summer, bring your summer school students and summer campers to the Dallas Museum of Art for a tour led by one of our teen docents! Our docent-guided tours allow students to form meaningful connections with works of art through close looking and interactive gallery experiences, including sketching, writing, group discussion, and more. Teen docents conduct summer tours for young visitors (ages 5-12) all summer long, during which they encourage critical and creative thinking while addressing all learning styles. If you are interested in scheduling a guided tour with one of our teen docents, the process is easy!

Step 1: Visit www.dma.org/tours. This page includes information about fees–FREE if you are an educational organization and scheduled 2-3 weeks in advance!

Step 2: Click on Docent-Guided Tour Request Form, making sure you already have a few dates approved for a visit.

Step 3: Choose whether you would like the “Animal Safari” tour or the “Summer Vacation” tour.

  • On the “Animal Safari” tour, students will set off on a safari to search for animals in works of art. They will think about how animals look and what they might mean and symbolize in works of art from all over the world.
  • On the “Summer Vacation” tour, students will travel the world without ever leaving the Museum! They will think about how they spend their summer vacation and make connections between their favorite summer activities and those they see in works of art.

Step 4: Choose a date and time. Docent-guided tours are only available in the summer on Wednesday and Friday between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. We can only tour 30 students every hour, but feel free to split them between a few hours! For example, half the students can tour at 11:00 a.m. while the other half explore our collection in small groups or eat lunch in our Sculpture Garden.

Step 5: Once the form is submitted, you will be added to our schedule in the first available time and day.

We have lots of room left in our schedule, and our teens are ready to show your students their favorite pieces! We hope you join us for a Safari or a Vacation soon!

Madeleine Fitzgerald
Audience Relations Coordinator

Tour and Outreach Scheduling Begins Today

Teachers, grab your calendars: tour and Go van Gogh outreach scheduling for the 2012-2013 school year begins today.

As always, all outreach programs and tours booked in advance are free of charge.  Go van Gogh outreach is offered to grades 1-6 in the Dallas area.  Programs include conversations about artworks and an art-making activity, and are designed to dovetail with school curricula, per grade level.  Visit our web site to learn more about the Go van Gogh programs offered this year.

Self-guided or docent-led tours of the Museum’s collection and special exhibitions are available to K-12 students and higher education audiences.  Of special note this fall is our Legacy of the Plumed Serpent in Ancient Mexico docent-guided tour, which will feature outstanding works of Mesoamerican art.  Visit our web site for a full list of tours offered this year.

To submit on online request form, visit the tour and Go van Gogh sections of our web site.

We look forward to seeing you and your students this Fall!

Amy Copeland
Coordinator of Go van Gogh Outreach

Me & My World: Testing in the Galleries

As Hannah and I continue our revisions of the Me & My World docent tour guide and Go van Gogh program, I wanted to share a few works of art that I was able to test out on two groups of first-graders during thier Me & My World tour.

Below you will see three of the five works of art that I chose to look at with the students. I have included the clues, some of the questions that led the discussions, as well as other activities that I used.

Stop #1
Clues: We are looking for a painting that shows a little girl wearing a hat who is dressed in all white.

Dorothy, John Singer Sargent, 1900, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Leland Fikes Foundation, Inc.

.

This little girl’s name is Dorothy. Let’s look at what Dorothy is wearing. Can you describe her clothes?

Do you have fancy or nice clothes? Where do you wear them?

Do you like dressing up? Why or why not?

Look at Dorothy’s face. Does she look happy or sad?

Why do you think she looks sad?

Stop #2
Clues: We are looking for a painting of another little girl who has very short hair and is wearing a blue and white dress.

Dutch Girl Laughing, Robert Henri, 1907, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase

.

We don’t know this little girl’s name. What should we call her?

Let’s describe her clothes.

Does she look like Dorothy? Why or why not?

Does she look happy or sad?

Why do you think she looks happy?

Compare/contrast both portraits: Let’s imagine that these girls could talk to us. What would they say? What would they say to each other? What would they say to these other people (the other portraits in the gallery)?
Favorite clothing: Can you tell me what is your favorite thing to wear? Can you describe it (color, print, etc.)? Where do you like to wear it?
Emotions: Let’s looks at some of the other people’s faces in this gallery. Do they look happy? Sad? Angry? Scared? Bored? Sleepy? Why do you think so?

Stop #3
Clues: We are looking for a whole room that is full of shelves holding lots of things that people use to eat dinner.

Examples of objects in the Decorative Arts Study gallery. Left: “Century” shape dinner plate with “Sunglow” pattern decoration, Eva Zeisel, Hall China Company,1956, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of David t. Owsley Right: “Tricorne” shape luncheon plate with “Mandarin” decoration, Donald Schreckengost, Salem China Company,1933, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Kenn Darity and Ed Murchison.

.

Can you find something in this room that…

You can eat soup out of?

What about a piece of cake?

What about hot chocolate?

OR

I spy something that is… (red, blue, striped, polka dot, etc.)

I am going to read you a silly poem about someone who is eating dinner:

Mashed Potatoes on the Ceiling
by Kenn Nesbitt

Mashed potatoes on the ceiling.
Green beans on the floor.
Stewed tomatoes in the corner.
Squash upon the door.

Pickled peppers in my pocket.
Spinach up my sleeves.
Mushrooms in my underpants with
leeks and lettuce leaves.

Okra, onions, artichokes,
asparagus and beets;
buried neatly underneath the
cushions of our seats.

All the rest I’ve hidden in my socks
and down my shirt.
I’m done with all my vegetables.
I’m ready for dessert! 

Let’s pretend that we are making a huge dinner for everyone in the Museum to eat tonight. Let’s go around the circle and tell everyone what kind of food you would bring to share. Now, let’s choose a dish from these shelves to serve it in.

Stop #4
Clues: We are looking for an object that is small, brown and white, and looks like a face.

Mouth mask depicting the head of a bird, Leti Island, Indonesia, 19th century, Dallas Musuem of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

.

What kind of animal does this look like?

Can you find its beak? Its feathers?

If you could touch this, do you think it would be soft? Hard? Rough? Smooth?

What do you think this is made of?

The person who used this would put it in his mouth and pretend that he was a bird. Have you ever worn a costume?

Can I have a volunteer come up and show us how they would move if they were wearing this bird mask?

What are some other animals that you like to pretend to be? Can you show us how you’d move?

Overall, the students seemed very receptive to the works I chose to explore. Both groups were very talkative, and I was surprised at how comfortable and focused they were with the discussion topics that I brought up. They were very good at comparing and contrasting the two paintings of the young girls, and seemed to enjoy talking about them. The “Mashed Potatoes on the Ceiling” poem was a big hit, and so was the “dinner party” conversation. I soon realized that any time a first-grader is given the opportunity to share ANYTHING about themselves, they will. One of my favorite moments was watching those students move like an animal in front of the group. I am thankful that most first-graders aren’t shy!

Jessica Kennedy
McDermott Intern for Gallery Teaching

What to Expect on a Docent-Guided Tour

A few months ago, Loryn shared her tips for making the most of a self-guided visit to the DMA.  I thought I would weigh in today with a summary of what to expect when you schedule a docent-guided tour at the Museum.  We offer docent-guided tours Tuesday-Friday at 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 1:00 p.m., and all requests for docent-guided tours must be submitted at least three weeks in advance.

Let’s say you’ve submitted your request and received your confirmation letter from Loryn.  What happens once you actually arrive at the DMA?

An excited 4th grader hops off the bus

First, you’ll be greeted by one of our fabulous docents.  This docent will chat with you to make sure that you’re broken up into smaller groups (we assign one docent for every fifteen students), and s/he will match you up with the docents for your tour.  Once your tour is under way, you should expect to see five to six works of art in a one hour tour.  We emphasize quality  over quantity–we believe your students will gain more from in-depth experiences with a limited number of works than they would from trying to see twenty works of art in one hour.  If you would like your students to see more paintings and sculptures while they are here, consider scheduling a self-guided visit after your tour.  That’s a great way for your students to be able to go back and look at works of art that are most interesting to them.

Discussing Mark Rothko's Orange, Red, and Red

Three years ago, we created a program goal for K-12 docent-guided tours.  Our goal states:

  • On docent-guided tours, students will experience the Museum as a comfortable place to visit and return to, discover that works of art are relevant to their lives, and begin to see their world in a fresh way.

How does that happen in the galleries?  First off, your docents will welcome you to the Museum and learn a little bit about your group and what you have been studying.  They’ll discuss the guidelines for a Museum visit, and also present a theme for your tour.  At each stop, they will ask your students to look closely at the work of art.  They might use open-ended questions to ask the group what they see, and they’ll hopefully ask them to share visual evidence for their ideas.  We use questions and conversations to encourage closely looking, rather than a lecture-based teaching method.

A docent helps students look for clues that tell us about Tlaloc

We also know that everyone learns in different ways, and docents are encouraged to think about addressing multiple learning styles over the course of their tour.  Your students might be asked to write a short poem, act out a pose or gesture, or even sketch in the galleries.  Each of these activities focuses their attention and allows them to look closely to make sense of the works of art in the Museum.

Students move their bodies like the lines in a painting

We want students to begin to experience a sense of wonder while they are at the Museum, and that can happen in many ways on a docent-guided tour.  Some students experience wonder the minute they step through the door and see the Barrel Vault space for the first time.  Others ask questions about works of art, make connections between works of art, or say things like “I never knew that.”  One way that docents can help facilitate that sense of wonder is by giving students time to look and reflect on their own.  And of course, listening and responding positively to your students’ ideas is a great way to promote that sense of wonder, as well!

Students are asked to arrange colors in response to an abstract painting.

The final element of a docent-guided tour at the DMA is helping students see that works of art–whether they were made 2,000 years ago or two years ago–are relevant to their lives today.  How is a bed made in 1844 similar to the beds we sleep in?  What is different about it?  What type of bed would you love to have in your house?  These are just some of the questions docents might ask students when discussing this work of art in our galleries.  We want students to make a personal connection while they are at the Museum, and it is our hope that these connections will turn your students into lifelong Museum goers.

We end all of our tours by inviting students to come back to the DMA often.  I hope that this gives you a sense of what happens on a typical docent-guided tours, and that you’ll bring your students to visit us soon!

Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching

Intern Project: Introduction to Me & My World

Me & My World is an hour-long education program for first graders. We offer it as a docent-guided tour as well as a Go van Gogh classroom experience. Both programs introduce students to artwork in our collection with:

Both programs give the first-graders an opportunity to create artwork to take home with them at the end of the museum visit or school day. The overall goal is to assist the students in looking carefully at various works of art and making personal connections to them.  Because the settings are different (Museum galleries vs. school classroom) the experiences with works of art vary. Here is an example for Mary Cassatt’s Sleepy Baby from Go van Gogh:

Sleepy Baby, Mary Cassatt c. 1910, pastel on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, Munger Fund

Clues: a piece of a pink blanket, a pacifier, and the arm gesture of rocking a baby

After a conversation about the mother and baby (“Have you ever held a baby? Do you have a baby brother or sister at home? Have you ever sat on someone’s lap? How did it feel?”) a brief poem is read aloud to the class:

Human Pillow
By Sondra Falck

A sleepy head lay yawning,
Quietly on my chest,
His little legs were tired,
Needing a bit of rest.

Little boy, face filled with dreams,
Of all he planned to do,
Games to play and trees to climb,
Before this day was through.

 Busy dreamer, sound asleep,
Had to find the softest lap,
To be his human pillow,
So he could take a nap.

As a class, we discuss connections between the poem and the work of art. Then, we create a poem of our own, by asking the students to finish the sentence “Babies are ___”. When completed, it will look something like this: 

Babies are _soft_.
Babies are ­­­_sweet_.
Babies are _loud_.
Babies are _smelly_.
Babies are _squishy_.
Babies are _sleepy_.

Here is an example of Romare Beardon’s Soul Three from the Docent Tour:

Soul Three, Romare Bearden, 1968, paper and fabric collage on board, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund and Roberta Coke Camp Fund

Soul Three, Romare Bearden, 1968, paper and fabric collage on board, Dallas Museum of Art, General Acquisitions Fund and Roberta Coke Camp Fund

 

Clues: Detail of cloth from the collage, a foot tapping, and a tambourine

There are two themes that can be brought up during this conversation: one highlights what the students see in the painting (patterns, shapes, colors, figures) and the other explores the relationship of the people and the activity that they are participating in.

After this conversation, the students are encouraged to create a story about these three friends by considering the following prompts:

  • Give each of the gentlemen and the lady a name.
  • How did they meet each other?
  • What kind of music do they like to play?
  • Where are they playing their music?
  • Who is listening to them play? Are there other people around?
  • What happens when they stop playing their music?

The activity encourages the students to pose like one of the figures in the work of art and then choose one part of their body to move when the docent claps out a rhythm. Since we love working with children of all ages, we have decided to revise both of the Me &  My World programs as our McDermott Intern Project. We are still in the brainstorming stage, and we would love your help!

What are some of your favorite works of art from the DMA collection to use with young visitors? Has our collection inspired any fun activites that you use with your students? Tell us in the comments!

Jessica Kennedy & Hannah Burney
McDermott Interns for Teaching Programs and Partnerships


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