Posts Tagged 'Programs'

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

Reflections on the 2010-2011 School Year

It’s hard to believe that the 2010-2011 school year is over.  This has been a year of transition and change for our department, but we are proud to say that the quality of our programs has remained high.  We thought we would take a moment to share with you the highlights of the past year.  And remember: we’ll begin taking reservations for the 2011-2012 school year August 1.  Have a great summer!

Museum Visits

Docent Tom Brown discusses Tlaloc with a group of 5th graders

Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching

Go van Gogh Outreach

First grade artists at Rosemont Primary

  • With the help of our dedicated volunteers, Go van Gogh visited 380 1st-6th grade classrooms in Dallas this year, seeing over 8,000 students.  We presented a total of 233 programs to over 5,300 students in schools outside of Dallas.
  •  One of my biggest highlights of the school year was visiting campuses and classrooms multiple times.  Many of the students who received Go van Gogh programs in Dallas experienced several of our programs this year.  Thank you, teachers, for bringing us into your classrooms and inviting us back! 
  •  I am most looking forward to spending this summer working with Melissa to recruit new Go van Gogh volunteers for next school year. 

Amy Copeland 
Coordinator of Go van Gogh Outreach

The Art (and Archaeology) of Good Cheer

Known as the “Indiana Jones of Ancient Ales, Wines, and Extreme Beverages,” Dr. Patrick McGovern is a world-renowned expert on the origins of ancient fermented drinks and a leader in the emerging field of biomolecular archaeology. On Thursday evening, he will present the history of wine in a lecture entitled Uncorking the Past, part of the Museum’s Boshell Family Lecture Series on Archaeology. Dr. McGovern tells us more about his unique archaeological research.

Dr. McGovern in his laboratory, examining a 3000-year-old millet wine, which was preserved inside a tightly lidded bronze vessel from a Chinese tomb. Photo: Penn Museum.

You oversee the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology – a leader in this cutting-edge field. What type of research do you conduct at the lab?

The Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory has been at the forefront of the revolution in uncovering the organic underpinnings of our species on this planet. We analyze ancient fermented beverages, foods, perfumes, dyes (such as Royal Purple), and other organics, which could only be imagined from ancient writings, using highly sensitive instruments in the laboratory (infrared spectrometry, gas and liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, etc.). Molecular archaeology promises to open up whole new chapters relating to our human ancestry and genetic development, cuisine, medical practice, and other crafts over the past two million or more years.

Where do you find evidence of ancient food and drink, and what tools and technologies do you use to analyze that evidence?

Pottery, which is virtually indestructible and goes back to between 5000 and 13,000 B.C. in various parts of the world, absorbs ancient organics and is crucial to our research. By using organic solvents, we “tease out” the ancient organics, and then go to work with our battery of scientific instruments. Sometimes we work directly from residues, either deposited inside vessels of various materials or deposited elsewhere (e.g., on bones, textiles, etc.).

Dr. McGovern peers into a wine jar dating to 5400 - 5000 B.C. Photo: courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

In the course of your work, what has been your most surprising discovery?

There have been many, but the discovery of Royal Purple and the earliest resinated wine from Iran (circa 5400 B.C.) are two highlights.

Your academic background is varied, and you have degrees in both chemistry and archaeology. How did you become interested in the history of fermented beverages?

It was very serendipitous. As I moved from inorganic to organic chemical analysis of archaeological materials, we were successful in first detecting Royal Purple, a highly stable compound that had been preserved for over 3,000 years. This gave us the confidence to move on to wine, beer, and other materials. Grape wine was first, and came about when an associate, Virginia Badler, showed us shards of large jars from an early Iranian site (Godin Tepe) with residues inside that she believed to be wine deposits. She proved to be right, and the rest is history.

After the lecture on Thursday, we will have the opportunity to sample wines from Burgundy, as well as an artisan beer called Midas Touch. Please tell us about the beer, which was inspired by analysis you did on objects found in the tomb of the legendary King Midas.

It all started over fifty years ago with a tomb, the Midas Tumulus, in central Turkey at the ancient site of Gordion, which was excavated by the Penn Museum in 1957. Within that tomb, buried deep down in the center of a large mound, excavators found the body of a 60- to 65-year-old male, who had died normally. He lay on a thick pile of blue- and purple-dyed textiles, the colors of royalty in the ancient Near East. The excavators had found what would become one of the most spectacular archaeological discoveries of the 20th century – they had located what has since been identified as the tomb of Gordion’s most famous son, King Midas.

“King Midas” laid out in state on piles of purple- and blue-dyed textiles inside his coffin, from the northwest, with the large bronze drinking set in the background. Photo: courtesy of the Gordion Project, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Inside the tomb, surrounding the body, were 157 bronze vessels, including large vats, jugs, and drinking bowls that had been used in the final farewell dinner for the king outside the tomb. The body was then lowered into the tomb, along with the remains of the food and drink, to sustain him for eternity.

Surprising, none of the 157 drinking vessels were made of gold. Where then was the gold if this was the burial of Midas with the legendary golden touch? In fact, the bronze vessels, once the bronze corrosion was removed, gleamed just like the precious metal. The real gold, as far as I was concerned, was what these vessels contained – the remains of an ancient beverage, which was intensely yellow, just like gold. Chemical analyses of the residues – teasing out the ancient molecules – provided the answer: the beverage was a highly unusual mixture of grape wine, barley beer, and honey mead.

Jars filled with the spicy stew, served at the funerary feast of King Midas, can be seen inside one of the large vats. They were placed there after the fermented beverage, which they initially contained, had been served at the funerary banquet. These “left-overs” might have been intended for sustenance for the king in the afterlife. Photo: courtesy of the Gordion Project, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

You may cringe at the thought of mixing together wine, bee,r and mead, as I did originally. That’s when I got the idea to do some experimental archaeology. In essence, this means trying to replicate the ancient method by taking the clues we have and trying out various scenarios in the present. In the process, you hope to learn more about how the ancient beverage was made. To speed things up, I also decided to have a competition among microbrewers to try to reverse-engineer and see if it was even possible to make something drinkable from such a weird concoction of ingredients. Soon, experimental brews started arriving on my doorstep for me to taste – not a bad job, if you can get it, but not all the entries were that tasty.

Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Brewery ultimately triumphed. The beverage has since gone from one triumph to the next. Dogfish is the fastest growing microbrewery in the country, and “Midas Touch” has become its most awarded beverage.

Original Dogfish Head Brewery label for Midas Touch beer. Photo: courtesy of Dogfish Head Brewery

Be sure to watch Dr. McGovern and the team from Dogfish Head Brewery on The Discovery Channel’s Brew Masters, which chronicles their travels around the world searching for exotic ingredients and discovering ancient techniques to produce their award-winning beers.

Patrick E. McGovern is Scientific Director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania Museum. His books include Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture and Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages. His research on the origins of alcoholic beverages has been featured in Time, the New York Times, the New Yorker, Nature, and numerous other publications.

Seldom Scene – A Penguin’s Night at the Museum

To help us celebrate our exhibition African Masks: The Art of Disguise, the Dallas Zoo’s Animal Adventure Program made an appearance at Friday’s Late Night with a few animals that call Africa home. Donny, the Black-footed Penguin, was a big hit with the DMA staff (see the BIG smiles) and with visitors too.

Seldom Scene: A Weekly Snapshot

 

A DMA conference room where great programming ideas are born.

Late Nights: Celebrating Mexico’s Bicentennial til the Midnight Hour

Late Nights at the Dallas Museum of Art take place on the third Friday of every month (except December) and can bring up to 5,000 visitors to the Museum in just one evening. With eleven Late Nights to plan each year, we are constantly brainstorming program ideas and themes.

The process starts with coming up with a theme for each Late Night month. These are usually decided a year in advance by looking at our upcoming exhibitions, works of art in our collection, or other special events and occasions like the Museum’s annual birthday celebration in January.

We have three Late Nights left in 2010 and each one will celebrate a different exhibition on view this fall. The next one, on September 17, focuses on our México 200 exhibitions: José Guadalupe Posada: The Birth of Mexican Modernism and Tierra y Gente: Modern Mexican Works on Paper. These two exhibits, which showcase Mexico’s long tradition of exquisite artistry, were planned as a way to commemorate the Mexican bicentennial.

Once the themes of each Late Night are chosen, the programming team decides which performers, speakers, and programs to schedule, making sure there is a mix of live music and performances, lectures, tours, films, family activities, Tech Lab programs, and other special events. Through our own research, recommendations from colleagues, and old-fashioned word-of-mouth, we choose the Late Night performers and speakers who we feel tie into the main theme of the evening while also offering something new and interesting for our visitors to experience. These special guests come from all across Texas, often from across the country, and once in a while, from abroad.

We also collaborate with other organizations in our North Texas community to present joint programs at Late Night. In September the acclaimed Mexican poet Homero Aridjis will be at the Museum to give a reading in both English and Spanish. This program is hosted in partnership with the Center for Translation Studies at UT Dallas.

We’ve just finished deciding on our themes for the 2011 Late Nights, and while we’ll keep them a secret for now, we hope to see you at one or maybe even all of them!

Stacey Lizotte is Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services.


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