Thursday, October 8, 2015

Museum Resources For Educators

Teachers often plan a field trip to one of the city's many museums. This fall, why not consider using resources developed by a particular museum before visiting it with your class? Here's a sampling of some of the resources available at museums around town.

American Museum of Natural History
This museum's site has a vast section for educators, including field trip guides, lesson plans, and professional development offerings. The Structures & Cultures section in their curriculum collection offers some interesting and accessible materials for us non-scientists, including a unit called When Cultures Travel, which asks students to examine the migration histories of their own families and the cultural mixes of their current neighborhoods.

Metropolitan Museum of Art
This is another museum with a lot to offer educators, from lesson plans to professional development offerings. Their Find an Educator Resource tool allows teachers to search for materials by time period or geographical location (and then by subject, grade, collection area, or theme). Their incredible curriculum resource guides focus on locations and time periods which are well-represented in their permanent collection. Why not work with materials from The Art of Africa guide before visiting the Kongo: Power & Majesty exhibit?

Museum of American Finance
This museum offers a group discount admission rate ($4 per person if booked two weeks in advance), which makes it an attractive choice among the fee-based museums in the city. It also appeals to students who are less interested in art, history, or science, and more interested in business and finance. They have some great lessons that focus on vocabulary and concepts to prepare students prior to visiting, including a primer on financial markets and a history of money in the United States.

Museum of the City of New York
The educators' guides offered by this museum include pre- and post-visit activities, as well as worksheets, discussion questions, suggested readings, and more. The guide Introducing the Museum to Students suggests some activities using the museum's online Collections Portal before taking a class trip.

Museum of the Moving Image
This is another fee-based museum, but its proximity to LaGuardia makes it a good field trip choice. They offer discounted rates for groups of adults with some advanced planning ($9 per person for self-guided, $12 per person for guided). They also have a fascinating online resource, The Living Room Candidate, which contains an archive of hundreds of presidential campaign commercials as well as lesson plans to explore them.

Whitney Museum
The Whitney has a new dedicated space for education, as well as comprehensive online resources for teachers. They have organized their resources under four main themes: Artist as Observer, Artist as Storyteller, Artist as Experimenter, and Artist as Critic. You can search their education portal according to these themes, or by artist, grade, or activity type. Some compelling lessons include an exploration of migration, a critical analysis of the idea of America, and a sketch of everyday life. They have also published a teacher guide for the current exhibition, Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist.

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