In his description for the course “The Curator in the Museum,” Brian Wallace, the College’s curator and academic liaison for art and artifacts, writes that students will examine “the challenges and opportunities confronting curators and their colleagues, peers, audiences, and constituents.”
Those challenges and opportunities were made real earlier this month when the class, an upper-level undergraduate History of Art course, hosted groups of high-school age students from several nearby schools for a hands-on look at the work of organizing and interpreting exhibitions.
“It was extremely gratifying to see that over the course of the semester our students have learned a lot about translating art content for a range of museum audiences. Creating something that will hold the interest of high school students—our focus in this component of the course— is very challenging and our students did an unbelievable job,” says Wallace.
Wallace and his students hosted more than 40 students from neighboring Shipley and Baldwin on April 10 and 11. Students from Havertown High School visited earlier in the semester, and those students and groups from the Haverford School are expected later in the month.
Prior to the visits, Wallace and his students worked with museum educator Shari Osborn over several months staging the “Making Our World” exhibition, which is currently on display in the Eva Jane Romaine Coombe ’52 Special Collections Suite of Canaday Library.
For the visits, Wallace’s students worked with Osborn and one another to distill themes from the exhibition that matched high school curricula and then developed materials and activities that engaged the high school students in interactive, collaborative explorations of objects and ideas.
“Seeing the whole education program come together was a positive validation of not only my work, but also the work of the class as a whole,” said Amy Robles, a Haverford student enrolled in the course. “It was great to get the chance to experience the final product of our exhibition from a fresh perspective. “
Wallace describes the visits as a “pilot program” that the college plans to offer to these and other schools in the future. As courses and exhibitions for 2013 and 2014 are finalized, interested students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to find out more about the program.
For more on Bryn Mawr’s History of Art Department, visit the department website.
Information about the College’s Art and Artifact Collections is also available on the library’s Special Collections page, which includes links to the departmental blog—with student-written posts about the project—and Facebook page.