Posts Tagged 'Spanish'

Mi Museo Es Tu Museo

Learning English as a second language while living in a Spanish-speaking home didn’t come without its challenges—it took me years before I realized “better late than ever” wasn’t a phrase, and I could write an entire dictionary of hybrid words my siblings and I used by mistake (e.g. “moona,” or moon + luna). In spite of the occasional linguistic faux pas, having the opportunity to communicate in both languages has been incredibly rewarding in my personal life and my experience as an educator.

While I didn’t grow up in Texas, my experience growing up bilingual is pretty common throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. More than a third of the population in Texas speaks a language other than English at home, and DFW contains the 6th largest Spanish-speaking population in the United States. Current research demonstrates that both English-learners and native English-speakers benefit from educational settings that foster bilingual literacy. With all of this in mind, how does the DMA factor the demographics of its audience and the scholarship on bilingual education to engage Spanish-speaking visitors?

Since the Center for Creative Connections (C3) first began implementing bilingual signage on table prompts and wall text, the DMA has introduced a number of additional resources for visitors who want to engage with art by reading, writing, or listening in Spanish. Through a collaboration with Make Art with Purpose, C3 produced the Translating Culture and Translating Culture II gallery guides based on community voices. The 2015 exhibition Inca: Conquests of the Andes/Los Incas y las conquistas de los Andes featured English and Spanish text on its labels and wall didactics, as well as an interactive art scavenger hunt available in both languages. Visitors can also find extended labels in English and Spanish related to two works by Frida Kahlo currently on view in Level 4.

Here are some more bilingual resources we’ve introduced during the past year:

First Tuesday Spanish Family Tours

On the first Tuesday of the month from September through May, visitors ages 0-5 and their grown-ups are invited to join Museum staff for interactive tours throughout the galleries in both English and Spanish. This past year, I had the pleasure of leading families on Spanish tours inspired by nature, sculptures, robots, pop art, and more. Additionally, the signs and schedules for First Tuesday this past year were printed in both English and Spanish.

Create an exvoto / Crea un exvoto Activities

The inspiration behind this table activity in the Interactive Gallery came from the exvotos on view in C3, which contain Spanish text describing everyday miracles and expressions of gratitude. When Community Engagement staff designed an off-site version of this activity at the 2016 AVANCE Latino Street Fest, we included bilingual exvoto instructions and templates giving visitors the option to write in English or in Spanish.

Young Learners Gallery

Part of the recent redesign for this interactive learning space includes bilingual wall text and activity prompts for children ages 5-8 and their families. Visitors can explore lines and line-making using English and Spanish text, and the various hands-on activities in the space were designed for a number of different learning styles.

Spanish Family Guides (COMING SOON!)

Visitors can pick up Arturo Family Gallery Guides for a fun way to explore the galleries at their own pace. Each one contains activities and questions (and maybe a few puns) for kids and their grown-ups to make meaningful connections with pieces throughout the DMA. Keep an eye out for Spanish language family guides coming soon!

Museums around the country are engaging linguistically diverse audiences in innovative ways, including video guidesco-taught bilingual gallery lessons, and workshops for adult immigrants. What other ways have you seen museums welcome visitors with diverse language backgrounds?

Paulina Lopez
McDermott Graduate Intern for Visitor Engagement

 

The Signs They Are A-Changin’: Bilingual Museum Signage

FullSizeRenderLast week, while vacationing in San Juan with my family, we stopped by the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico. When I travel to a new city, I always like to visit the museums to see their collections and learn about their educational initiatives. Puerto Rico is a US Territory, but it’s quite a different place than any of the fifty states. Though my family is bilingual, I’m a non-Spanish speaker, so I was pleased to learn that Puerto Rico is bilingual. Many residents speak both Spanish and English and, to my delight, all of the museum signage was bilingual! As a museum educator who has been involved in making signage more accessible, it was amazing to walk in and find that everything from the museum map to the artwork labels were in both Spanish and English. (Click on the images below to enlarge.)

 

Last year Steve Yalowitz wrote a guest post on Nina Simon’s blog about the significance of bilingual signage. As co-author of the Bilingual Exhibit Research Initiative, which strove to better understand bilingual labels from the visitor perspective, Yalowitz offered these three points as significant findings:

  1. Code-switching – We found lots of evidence of effortless switching back-and-forth between English and Spanish….The power of bilingual text is that it’s bilingual – it provides access in two languages, and code switching lets you understand and express yourself from two different perspectives, with two sets of vocabulary.

  2. Facilitation – We researched intergenerational groups, so it’s not surprising that many of the adults saw their role as facilitator as essential to their own and the group’s success in the exhibition….With Spanish labels available, adults were able to facilitate, guiding the conversations and interactions, showing their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews where to focus and how to interact. Adults who were previously dependent on their children could now take the lead as confident facilitators.

  3. Emotional reaction – This study found that the presence of bilingual interpretation had a profound emotional effect on the groups. Groups said they enjoyed the visit more, felt more valued by the institution, and many said having bilingual interpretation changed how they felt about the institution.

When I read Yalowitz’s article last year, it opened my eyes to the experiences of non-English speakers in museums with English only text. But the experience was made even more tangible as an English speaker visiting the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico. Had the text only been in Spanish, I would have had to ask my daughter or significant other to translate for me. This would not have been impossible, but rather inconvenient. If I stopped to look closely at a work of art that they were not interested in, I would have to call them back and interrupt their experience to get assistance understanding the label. Having bilingual text allowed me to take on the role of facilitator, reading the label and prompting my daughter with questions, and allowed my family to switch between Spanish and English comfortably. Furthermore, going beyond bilingual label text and providing bilingual directional signage was significant as well: we were each able to easily and equally participate in the entire museum experience.

Over the last few years, the Center for Creative Connections (C3) has begun to incorporate bilingual text and voices in a variety of ways. This initiative began soon after the DMA moved to free general admission. With this change in our admission policy, our overall number of visitors and the diversity of those visitors increased. The need for accessible signage for Spanish speakers was apparent, so in late 2012 we started to test out the use of bilingual prompts at the C3 Art Spot.

This was the perfect place to start because it is one of the busiest spaces in the Center for Creative Connections. It was also easy to begin using bilingual text in these kinds of prompts because these signs typically change more often and are easier to alter than more permanent wall signage. In 2014, we began to use bilingual activity prompts in the main C3 Gallery as well. This is a prompt for an activity where visitors use a light box and reproductions of works of art from the Museum’s collection to create hybrid creatures.

These small steps have been leading up to a bigger change. This year when we installed our Community at LARGE project, both English and Spanish text was included not only in the table prompt, but also on the wall text.

IMG_7413

As we continue to install new works of art in the Center for Creative Connections, our hope is to integrate bilingual text throughout the space.

Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Manager


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,605 other followers

Archives

Twitter Updates

Flickr Photo Stream

Categories