Posts Tagged 'tours'

That’s a Wrap: 2016-2017 School Tours

As the school year ends and our outstanding DMA docents take a well-deserved summer break, we want to celebrate another successful year of K-12 visits! The year’s been jam-packed with exciting exhibitions, new learning experiences (did you know we now offer a STEAM tour?), and, of course, a multitude of tours and programs geared to help visitors of all ages feel at home in the Museum and discover art. Let’s take a look at our stats for the year:

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How many groups visited the Museum?

  • 1,284 Visits Scheduled
  • 720 Schools or Community Groups
  • 103 Independent School Districts from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Iowa, and Florida

How many students received docent-guided tours?

  • 36,495 K-12 students
  • Approximately 2,700 hours discussing works of art with students!

What were the most popular tours?

  • A Looking Journey: 17,343 4th graders; 1,166 hours in the gallery
  • Mesquite Week: 2,740 students: 118 hours
  • STEAM: 497 students; 33 hours
  • Stories in Art: 1,596 2-3rd graders; 110 hours
  • Collection Highlights: 2,550 students; 213 hours
  • Arts of the Americas: 4,361 5th graders; 293 hours

How many visitors toured special exhibitions?

What do our visitors say about their experience at the DMA?

“Our 5th graders really enjoyed their visit to the DMA. Our docents were great, and I even learned something new! The tour went well, we had enough time to explore on our own, and we ended up having lunch in the courtyard. It was a wonderful, new experience for them. Thank you!” – Founders Classical Academy, Oct. 28

“We had a wonderful time. All museum staff were friendly. Our docent was outstanding. She spoke directly to the kids, she was animated, energetic, enthusiastic and passionate. She made the tour very interesting. She has amazing storytelling skills. She pulled us all in with her soft spoken mannerism and entertained and educated us all with her knowledge.” – Bennett Elementary,  Jan. 11

“I wanted to take a moment and thank you and your staff for being so professional and hospitable during our Museum visit and tour on February 28th. All of the teachers had glowing reports of how well things went this year and how much our students enjoyed their time. These museum visits are the things our students will remember decades from now and are very impactful to them culturally and artistically. Our teachers and students also enjoyed having the time to walk through and enjoy the museum after the tour. Please pass my thanks and appreciation on to the docents and staff at your museum. PS We are already looking forward to next year!” – Maple Lawn Elementary, Feb. 28

Thank you to all our volunteers, staff, and visitors for an amazing school year!

Lindsay O’Connor
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs

Madeleine Fitzgerald
Audience Relations Coordinator

Back to School: 2016 Fall Teacher Programs

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Arthur John Elsley, Hard Pressed (Any Port in a Storm/Late for School), 1898, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Kim Jordan.

Calling all teachers! We hope your back to school experience bears no resemblance to Arthur John Elsley’s Hard Pressed (Any Port in a Storm/Late for School), so we’d like to help you start the year off on the right note! Check out our Teacher page to discover upcoming opportunities and helpful tips for incorporating the DMA into your lesson plan this year.

We offer a wide variety of resources for educators including information on K-12 Student Visits, Gallery-Guides, Teacher Resources, and more. Be sure to peruse the Types of Student Tours we offer, to get a better idea of the opportunities available to you and your students here at the Museum. As you’ll notice, we’re offering a new STEAM tour this year! You can also schedule a Docent-Guided Tour or a Self-Guided Visit of upcoming special exhibitions, Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt and Art and Nature in the Middle Ages. Helpful tip: be sure to submit your request at least three weeks in advance of your visit to see a paid exhibition for free!

Interested in visiting the Museum with your fellow teachers? You can schedule a Teacher In-Service here at the Museum, or register for an upcoming Teacher Workshop (more on that below!) We’re always looking for new ways to support and celebrate educators, so please be sure to sign up to receive our emails and check the box for Information for Teachers to stay connected.

Here at the DMA, we’re looking forward to the opening of the claw-some new exhibition Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt on Sunday, October 9, and we want educators to take part in the fun with a Teacher Workshop. The exhibition explores the role of cats and lions in ancient Egyptian mythology, kingship, and everyday life, featuring material from the Brooklyn Museum’s world-famous Egyptian collection. Our workshop on Saturday, October 22, will provide educators with the opportunity to enjoy the exhibition before public hours while learning strategies to teach, interpret, and use works of art in the classroom and Museum galleries. Register here–What more purr-suasion do you need? Space is limited, so sign-up right meow!

We look forward to seeing you and your students at the DMA this fall, and we wish you a smooth start to the new school year!

Lindsay O’Connor
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs

Friday Photos: Summer Lovin’

The Education team works very hard to make your summer vacation fun and exciting for families and kids of all ages. So it only makes sense that we play just as hard! Some of us had some big art-related vacations, exciting camping adventures, and we had a lot of fun working in between (with or without our pups!). Check out some of our summer highlights!

Madeleine Fitzgerald
Audience Relations Coordinator

Teen Ambassadors: Coolest Kids in Town

We know all too well that this summer’s going to be a scorcher, so the Museum is bringing back our free Summer Family Fun programs to offer families some seriously cool activities. Each day this summer will feature different experiences for families and visitors of all ages, from Story Times to Art-to-Go Family Tote Bags. We’re not alone in our efforts, though – we have a secret weapon to help families beat the heat. Introducing the next generation of museum educators…the DMA Teen Ambassadors!

Formerly the Teen Docent Program, Teen Ambassadors will lead Community Tours, Family Story Times, and visitor experiences at the Pop-up Art Spot and C3 Gallery this summer. These enthusiastic, art-loving teens attended a two day orientation where they learned how to engage with visitors (especially young ones!) to prepare for their volunteer shifts.

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The 2016 Class of Teen Ambassadors

This year’s class of Ambassadors is pretty impressive, so make sure to catch them in action!

Jennifer Sheppard
Teaching Specialist

Friday Photos: 2015-2016 School Tours

It’s hard to believe K-12 visits for 2015-2016 school year wrapped up last Friday! We’ve had a busy year here at the DMA welcoming visitors of all ages, leading tours, and helping them make meaningful connections with works of art. Now it’s time to take a look back on all we’ve accomplished!

How many groups visited the Museum?

  • 1,227 Visits Scheduled
  • 711 Schools or Community Groups
  • 96 Independent School Districts from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and New Mexico

How many students received docent-guided tours?

  • 37,374 K-12 students
  • Approximately 2,698 hours discussing works of art with students!

How many students completed self-guided visits?

  • 12,275 K-12 students

What were the most popular tours?

  • A Looking Journey: 17,357 4th graders; 1,158 hours in the gallery
  • Arts of the Americas: 5,172 5th graders; 345 hours
  • Collection Highlights: 2,386 students; 160 hours
  • Recipes for Art: 545 K & 1st graders; 37 hours

How many visitors toured special exhibitions?

  • Inca: Conquests of the Andes: 888 students; 60 hours
  • International Pop: 1,312 students; 88 hours
  • Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots: 1,694 students; 113 hours
  • Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty: 370 students; 25 hours

What do our visitors say about their experience at the DMA?

“The students had a wonderful time, and they are already asking when we can visit again!” – Skyline High School, Dec. 6

“The docents were very knowledgeable (as has always been the case in the past three years that our school has been visiting). We thoroughly enjoyed it! Thank you again for providing this artistic experience in our Dallas community.”– Urban Park Elementary, Feb. 17

“Thank you so much for having such amazing people working with our kiddos! We LOVED the DMA! So grateful!”– Nathan Adams Elementary, March 10

“Our docent was so knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and great with my seniors. I love that I get to bring my kids to the DMA every year, and this year’s trip was made even better because of our docent. See you next year!”– John Horn High School, May 6

Thank you to all our volunteers, staff, and visitors for an amazing school year!

Lindsay O’Connor
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs

Madeleine Fitzgerald
Audience Relations Coordinator

Take a Summer Safari at the DMA

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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

Friday Photos: Touch But Don’t Look

Blind-folded touch-tour attendees experience Jurgen Bey's "Tree-Trunk Bench" (1999) in our Sculpture Garden.

Blind-folded touch-tour attendees experience Jurgen Bey’s “Tree-Trunk Bench” (1999) in our Sculpture Garden.

WARNING: Do not attempt a touch tour on your own–our trusty Gallery Attendants will stop you! However, on rare occasions (with a staff member present and the Conservation Department’s approval), you may be given permission to touch the art!

One such opportunity occurred this past Monday, June 15, when Amanda led a touch tour in our Sculpture Garden with painter John Bramblitt, who became blind in his late twenties. This tour was in tandem with the Arts & Letters Live program featuring Rebecca Alexander, author of Not Fade Away: A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found. Rebecca was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome Type III when she was 19 years old. This rare genetic disorder is causing her to slowly lose her vision and hearing.

Hearing both John and Rebecca’s inspiring stories, we thought it would be a great experience for a few of our visitors to learn what it is like to experience art with more than just their eyes. Amanda led a conversation focused on two different works of art and suggested techniques for exploring them with touch. We got to explore with our fingers Jurgen Bey’s Tree-Trunk Bench and Mark Handforth’s Dallas Snake.

Unfortunately, this is not something we can do all of the time. So don’t get any ideas!

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Madeleine Fitzgerald
Audience Relations Coordinator

Recipe for Art: The DMA’s Delicious New Tour

With a new year beginning, we are delighted to announce a new school tour at the DMA! Starting this month, schools can book “Recipe for Art,” a tour developed for Kindergarten and First Grade visitors by our Manager of Early Learning Programs, Leah Hanson, and our Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs, Josh Rose.

One of the main goals of “Recipe for Art” is to help children make connections between art and their own personal experience. This is done by connecting a familiar idea (that of using a recipe to make a delicious treat) to the way that an artist makes a work of art. Instead of ingredients like flour and sugar, the ingredients for art are the elements of design: shape, line, color and texture.

On the tour, groups will visit four or five different works of art in the collection, in order to talk about the basic elements of design. Groups first explore what the terms mean before then looking closely at the work of art in front of them. This leads to discussion, after which the children engage in a variety of kinetic and multi-sensory activities. These activities were specially designed to address various learning styles and to focus on the attention span and needs of this particular age group.

One important characteristic of these young visitors is their need to move! The tour was specifically designed to give children opportunities for purposeful movement–movement that helps them connect what they see to the motion that they are asked to make. One example of this is an activity based on Jackson Pollock’s Cathedral. The children are each given “paint” (a piece of string) and they throw it onto a “canvas” (a piece of felt), in order to simulate the movement of Pollock’s action painting. This allows the children to burn off some of their energy, while also connecting them with the art!

The “Recipe for Art” tour was developed by members of the DMA staff, but it will be implemented by our wonderful docents, who lead most of our school tours. Yesterday, the docents gathered for a training dedicated to this new tour. Leah gave them an overview of the tour and its origins, before sharing tips and strategies on how to deal with this particular age group. After that, the docents were given an opportunity to look over the supplies for the wide variety of activities that they may use on the tour. I even took some of my fellow McDermott Interns into the galleries to try out some of the activities!

For most visitors of this age group, it will be their first visit to a museum. With this new and unique tour, we’re hoping to make their first experience not only a positive one, but one that they will remember. By teaching these curious and imaginative children the basic elements of design, they will then be equipped with all of the ingredients to make their own art!

We’ve already begun to schedule the “Recipe for Art” through the month of January. If you’re interested in booking a tour for your school or classroom, complete our tour request form online and our Audience Relations Coordinator Madeleine Fitzgerald will get you scheduled!

Liz Bola
McDermott Graduate Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching

Of Golden Axes and Tulips: Some Thoughts on Teaching Iconography in the Galleries

British Museum: Hollow lost wax casting in gold of a bead in the shape of an axe (akuma), Asante, early 19th century, Purchased from Crown Agents for the Colonies, 1876

A few months ago, I had the great pleasure of spending some time chatting with Dr. Roslyn Walker, the DMA’s Senior Curator of the Arts of Africa, the Americas, and the Pacific.  In the course of our discussion, she told me about an event that occurred in 1881 called the “Golden Axe Incident.”  The Asante People of Ghana sent an official delegation to the British-controlled Cape Coast because a refugee from their city had fled there to claim British protection. The Asante arrived to demand the refugee’s return, bearing a ceremonial Golden Axe. The British interpreted the axe as an explicit symbol of warfare, and suddenly, the threat of war loomed much to the Asante’s surprise. Only when the Asante later sent their most experienced official to deliberate was the Golden Axe’s meaning clarified to the British authorities: the axe symbolized the desire to cut away all the blockages on the path to settlement–it is, essentially, a diplomatic symbol.

I was fascinated by this story, because it shows how the misinterpretation of the cultural meaning of an image–its iconography–nearly resulted in war. Iconography is about explaining what symbols and imagery in a work of art meant to people at the time of its creation, understood through careful research into the historical context of not just that artwork, but a culture’s visual language. And while iconographic misreadings are usually not this fraught, I confess to sometimes feeling wary of how to present such information while teaching in the galleries.

Iconography is privileged knowledge. It is usually only understood by experts after laborious study, research, and careful analysis. Such knowledge is part-and-parcel of art historical practice, but can be tricky in gallery teaching. As Rika Burnham in Teaching in the Art Museum attests, iconographic information is often exactly what audiences and students are seeking, and offers momentary insight and relief, but usually stops any discussion or further analysis.

And in many ways, this is what iconography is meant to do–it’s not our cultural or individual interpretation of what a symbol means, it’s what it meant at the time of creation. This can be a difficult set of knowledge to tease out through discussion, although by no means impossible.

But when to introduce iconographic information during the course of learning?  Ideally, the need to raise what certain symbols and images meant is prompted organically in the course of a discussion, but how much information should the teacher offer?  If we open the floodgates, pour forth all the information we know for every symbol, we risk that sense of closure and discovery we want to carefully allow students to explore on their own. If we offer too little or carefully selected iconographic details, we risk, at the very least, presenting a stilted understanding of what the artwork might have meant historically.

I was thinking of these questions when standing before Jean Marie Reignier’s Homage to Queen Hortense, featured in the Museum’s new special exhibition, Bouquets: French Still-Life Painting From Chardin to Matisse.

Jean Marie Reignier, Homage to Queen Hortense, 1856

Jean Marie Reignier, Homage to Queen Hortense, 1856, Credit: Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, Inv. A 2896

As part of a beautiful exhibition of floral still-life, this grandiose painting stands out (it’s nearly seven feet tall and five feet wide): a lush garland of flowers surround a sculpted bust of Napoleon III’s mother, Hortense, atop which sits an eagle bearing an olive branch.

These details–the portrait bust, the eagle, the olive branch–as well as the scale of the painting tantalize us that despite the floral imagery, something else is going on here. For me, it would be easy in the context of the exhibition to dismiss these and focus on a comparison of this with the other floral still-lifes in the exhibition…If it were not for the seemingly unavoidable depiction of a paper label at the upper right bearing the number “7824189,” placed just under the eagle’s left talon. This numerical notation must have a specific meaning, right?

Thus we begin down the rabbit hole of the complex iconographic meaning imbued in this painting. Some symbolism here is relatively common, such as the olive branch as a symbol of peace. As the mother of the leader of France at the time (Napoleon III came to power in 1852), this homage to Hortense is rife with political and personal symbolism, ranging from the inclusion of red tulips (at the upper right) as symbolic of Hortense’s title as Queen of Holland and violets and bees (towards the lower left) as Napoleonic symbols, to the palette held by the figure (to the left behind the portrait bust) as indicative of Hortense’s own practice as a floral painter. And that number? It is supposedly the number of votes cast for Napoleon III in the election, securing his victory and rightful leadership of France.

I’ve learned all of this iconographic meaning from a wonderful series of lectures and trainings Dr. Heather MacDonald, the DMA’s Lillian and James H. Clark Associate Curator of European Art, has offered to the public, staff, and docents since the exhibition’s opening. And the symbolic understanding of Reignier’s painting offers a wealth of insight into aspects of how imagery worked as political propaganda in France at the time, even as this painting avoids many of the traditional symbolic tropes common to floral painting up to this point in history (the memento mori and cycle of nature suggested by wilting flowers, for instance). It is also helpful for understanding the intentions behind this painting: as a “statement” painting, this artwork was meant to elevate floral imagery to the same level as other academic painting approaches that relied on the human figure.

The “privileged” nature of iconographic meaning is a slippery slope in gallery teaching. And while I don’t think every painting that is iconographically rich necessitates a discussion of such iconography when teaching in the galleries, I can’t help but feel that here, that tag with painted number on it, likely forces an educator’s hand while teaching before it, or a painting like it.

How do you handle iconographic analysis when teaching in the galleries or your classrooms? Leave tips, thoughts, and feedback in the comments below!

Josh Rose
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs

Friday Photo: Arturo’s Preschool

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Imagine a school where you could explore a pond during science class, visit the symphony for music class, and look closely at a painting by Monet in art class! Real-world lessons are powerful at any age, but are especially important for the preschool crowd. We don’t have a pond or a symphony here at the DMA, but we can connect preschoolers with art masterpieces from all over the world.

The Arturo’s Preschool program is a free class for preschool, homeschool, and day care groups serving children ages three to five. In the class, we look closely at paintings, sculpture and other objects; read a picture book; and try out games and movement activities in the galleries. Then with our imaginations ready to create, we go to the art studio where children engage in process-oriented, open-ended art projects. Each month’s gallery discussion and art projects focus on a new theme, covering everything from the dance-inspired paintings of Edgar Degas to intricately sewn textiles from Africa.

Reservations for the 2014-2015 school year are now being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. For information on how to book your preschool class, please click here.

Leah Hanson
Manager of Early Learning Programs

 


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