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How to Teach Art History without Lecturing

Students don’t learn from teacher’s that stand in front of the classroom and lecture, however, all too often that’s how we teach art history. I”m always working to develop new ways to have my students interacting with the works of art, thinking about them, responding to them, asking questions, and making connections.

While watching ” The First Day in May” on Netflix, I loved hearing about and learning from all of the different people that it takes to put together a show at an Art Museum.

As a class we discuss different jobs within a museum and break down how a show comes together. Then students each need to develop their own theme/ concept, and work to pull together 15-25 pieces that go into their exhibit. Students write press release for the show, and for extra credit they can design a poster for their show. This works as a great review activity, helping students to make connections between works of art from different time periods and movements. I tell them that they need to have work from at least 5 different artist, and at least 3 different art movements.

This can also work well as an ongoing project that students work on when they finish early or when you have a sub.

In the video below, Rebecca, provides an in-depth look at what goes on behind the scenes of putting an exhibit together.