An hour at the museum

Forget a whole night at the Museum… I was there for about an hour with some first graders yesterday and it had me in tears!

I was fortunate to participate in an arts education program with Sassy Lassy’s school and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. I got training from the MIA  (the only FREE art museum in the US besides the Smithsonian) to learn how to be a “picture person” and talk to kids  about art and then I went to into the classroom to talk to the kids. The theme for this year was “Animals in Art” and we studied several different mediums.

Let me clear: I am awed by the creative process that goes into creating such magical things. But I am definitely not an artist. Or even crafty. But I have always loved how art ties together history and transforms time and culture. So, I figured I would have something to connect with the kids on. My class room visits featured lively discussions and I was so inspired that I also volunteered to go to MIA with the kids to view the art in the museum setting. 

Definitely the high point for me was seeing the kids actually view the pieces we’d discussed in the classroom. And to see them actually digest how looking at pictures and props fell short compared to the real thing. Their imaginations were working overtime!

After we toured with a docent, we broke into smaller groups and I got to lead a troup of 4 students (including Sassy Lassy) on our own tour.  And I was immediately caught off-guard by the intensity of the questions about the “naked statues” and the male anatomy.

Yep, I fielded everything from “Why carve someone naked?” to “Is that what a penis really looks like?” all in the span of about 5 minutes. And we weren’t even in the gallery where many of statues reside! Honestly, if I hadn’t been so terrified that I would say the wrong thing I would have thought it was pretty funny. Yep, their imaginations were truly at work.

I feel pretty good about the way I handled it. We talked about the why’s and the how’s and even about how sometimes art is not exactly representative of the real deal.

And then when the tour was over and they were all safely on their bus and I was back in my car, I laughed until tears streamed down my face. My trip to the museum was definitely more entertaining than the movie. You just can’t write a script that funny.

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About jpshuster

Working mother of two living in Minnesota.
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2 Responses to An hour at the museum

  1. Galit Breen says:

    You brave, brave woman you! I loved this program as a teacher. I’m so not in the same place as a Mama! Well played with the penis commentary, btw. 🙂

  2. Ashley says:

    Haha! I love the questions they asked. I;m glad I found your blog!

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