Tag Archives: Art

The Best Museums on Flickr

A photographer friend of mine, Christian Santiago, recently redirected me to Flickr. I remember the Flickr of a few years ago, largely used as a repository for vacation photos. Wow has Flickr grown up! As a Social Studies teacher, I am always on the look out for high quality images that are Creative Commons Licensed. Now, museums around the world are using Flickr as a means to showcase and share their collections. What makes these Flickr streams especially valuable is that they use them to highlight their archived material.

Here is a short list of museums on Flickr:

Boys picking up garbage, courtesy of the Library of Congress

Boys picking up garbage, courtesy of the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress - An amazing repository of images from American history, some of the highlights include Dorothea Lange, the history of baseball, and photojournalist collections about child labor.

The Field Museum Library - More than 1,600 images of both the collection of Field Museum and the history of the museum itself.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art - Not only do they have some great images from their collection, but they include photos of their social events including the Met Gala.

The British Library - More than a million images from their collection  covering topics like fashion, cartography, warfare, botany, and more.

The British Museum - While they have only few images from their collection, they post pictures and videos from their live events around the world, such as Nelson Mandela Day and Day of the Dead Altar.

Prairie Dawn 1971 Muppets, Courtesy of the Smithsonian Museum

Prairie Dawn 1971 Muppets, Courtesy of the Smithsonian Museum

Guggenheim Museum - This is a great way to look at installation exhibits!

National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian - Not only do they post images from their collection, but pictures of the museums’s history, scanning images for their x 3D collection, and more.

National Media Museum - This English museum focuses on photography, video, memes, and more.

The Smithsonian Institution - A great highlight of material at all of the Smithsonian Institutions.

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History - Another amazing collection of natural history artifacts.

Los Angeles County Museum of Modern Art - A nice overview of the collection and exhibits at LACMA.

This is only a small collection, but Fickr is an excellent resource for educators looking for unique, high quality images to incorporate into lessons or to teach students about licensing online content.

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Smarthistory: Khan Academy for Social Studies

Great Mosque at Damascus by G. Lewis, courtesy of Smarthistory & Flickr

Great Mosque at Damascus by G. Lewis, courtesy of Smarthistory & Flickr

Khan Academy is popular in math for its brief lectures and interactive modules. However, you can also use it in the Social Studies. Check out Smarthistory, a free multimedia platform for student and teacher of history, archaeology, museum curation, and art history.

It includes an interactive timeline, in-depth yet easy to understand articles, vibrant images, and videos about topics throughout history and around the globe. Check out “Teach with Smarthistory” for ideas on how to incorporate it into your classroom. If you are a historian, archaeologist, museum curator, or otherwise involved in the social science consider contributing an article or multimedia content. Additionally, Smarthistory contributes videos to Google Art Project.

SXSWedu – Can the Liberal Arts Survive in an Age of Innovation?

The next session I am attending is a topic near and dear to my heart as a liberal arts major, “Can the Liberal Arts Survive in an Age of Innovation?” The speakers are David Maxwell, President of Drake University, Liz Willen,

The seven liberal arts – Picture from the Hortus deliciarum of Herrad of Landsberg (12th century); Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The seven liberal arts – Picture from the Hortus deliciarum of Herrad of Landsberg (12th century); Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Editor of the Hechinger Report, Michelle Weise, a Senior Research Fellow at the Clayton Christendon Institute, and Scott Kinney, President of the Capella Education Company.

Quite famously, the President dissed the Liberal Arts not long ago with a sleight directed at Art History. Although he then followed up with a letter of apology to an upset professor. At the same time, he highlighted an issue in higher education. How do we resolve Liberal Arts with workforce readiness in higher education? Many educators, administrators, and law-makers are focusing on changes in education with a greater emphasis on STEM, leaving the Liberal Arts behind.

David begins by reaffirming his belief in and support of the Liberal Arts and Sciences in higher education. They have a long tradition in education. They are narrative tools that describe the world around us – help us to understand who we are, why we are, our place in the order of things, and our record in the human condition. They are proof of the fact that we were here. They are also how we try to answer the “big questions” in the world. However, he does acknowledge that the Liberal Arts alone are not sufficient in preparing students for the broader world. Preparation for a professional workforce is a necessary but not sufficient outcome of higher education.  We must ensure that our graduates can fulfill their personal and professional aspirations and needs. Sadly, we cannot get away from addressing the financial model of college – especially as costs for higher education is increasing at such an exponential rate. David also expresses his concern that the discussion about higher education and jobs seems to only be “about jobs.” Our objective is not simply job training – but to prepare students for meaningful personal lives, professional accomplishments, and global citizenship.

Michelle next steps in to discuss her concerns about the “myths” of Liberal Arts – namely that the Liberal Arts are the antithesis of workforce/vocational training and that increased technology means the need of the Liberal Arts. This is the result of the division in this country between colleges and technical schools – that technical schools are where we learned how to do “mechanical thinking/acting” and that higher education was where we “learned to know.” Of course, college is no longer a luxury good, it’s a necessity. Additionally, college costs are becoming more prohibitive. Also, in a knowledge economy or learning society, learning is becoming work and work is becoming learning. A college degree is not enough for the learning economy of our time. We cannot let students assume that a liberal arts degree will “sort itself out” due to buzzwords like “critical thinking” and “creative problem solving.” The pursuit of passions has become a privilege, even a luxury good. Academics has never been good at proving its relevance to industry. As the cost of academics continues to rise, the onus will be put on higher education institutions to prove their relevance and return. Whoever can link non traditional pathways and preparation for the workforce, will fill a great need.

Scott Kinney of Capella University, a for-profit online institution, feels that his institution (and similar) have a role in addressing this issue. You can still receive the benefits of a liberal arts education and come out prepared for the workforce. Scott argues that no matter what happens in Liberal Arts Education, we need to do a much better job of serving non-traditional students who are looking to be job-ready immediately upon graduation. Scott states that 75% of currently enrolled students are “non-traditional” (I guess that makes them “traditional”?). Embracing a non-traditional student needs to be a focus and can be the solution for the issue of resolving Liberal Arts with Industry. Scott argues that we determine outcomes/competencies and then build curriculum around that. He also argues that we have to focus on lowering the price and raising completion rates.  Additionally, we must connect that with job readiness – that they enter the workforce with the necessary skills and competencies. Scott argues that we need to navigate job competencies in conjunction with employers.

Liz (our moderator) asks David if the for-profit model by Scott’s institution is in conflict with the traditional model at Drake. David is surprisingly in agreement with the other members of the panel. He feels that colleges must do a better job at preparing students for careers, we must fit the needs of all of our students, and that we need to work with employers to ensure that they get from their students what they need. Michelle also highlights the challenge of enacting change from within an institution – especially at Colleges and Universities where tradition is so valued. Additionally, Scott highlights that job preparation does not undermine Liberal Arts objectives – you can still hold discussions on novels and works of art. David states that the real issue is “How does learning take place? What is assessed and how is it assessed?”

Ultimately, Liberal Arts is vital to the human experience, but we must find a way to effectively merge it with our modern needs. However, I would argue that it’s dangerous to make education solely about training for jobs. Education is about developing sophisticated thinking and learning skills.

Art/Write Connecting the Common Core with Art History

University of Arizona Mascot, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

University of Arizona Mascot, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Many thanks to my friend and colleague Daniel Schneider for bringing this project to my attention. The Art/Write project out of the University of Arizona’s Museum of Art helps high school students to examine and write about art critically. Additionally, the projects highlighted there meet Common Core standards for writing.

“Writing requires careful observation, critical thinking, analysis of ideas and events, and of course creative thinking. When engaged with a work of art, students must also utilize the skills of sustained observation, imagination and interpretation. This web resource provides looking and writing activities that allow students to develop strong looking skills that in turn foster effective writing.” – Quote from Art/Write

If you teach art or are looking for ways to liven up your writing curriculum in conjunction with the common core, be sure to check out Art/Write.

Explore the Collection at the Rijksmuseum

Johannes Vermeer, c/o of the Rijksmuseum

Johannes Vermeer, c/o of the Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum, the National Dutch Museum, has revamped its website and now provides an amazing new way to explore the museum’s collection.You can look by theme, author, date, special exhibits, and more. Images that are out of copyright are free to download in high resolution! This is a great tool to use for a virtual field trip or examining Dutch Art in high detail.

Be sure to visit the museum’s website and sign up for an account, which allows for greater access to research and downloadable imagery.

Google Art Project

I’ve played with Google Art Project since its inception, but recent renovations make me very excited! If you’re unfamiliar with Google Art Project, it is an online “museum,” a repository of high resolution images and 3D gallery views of art collections from more than 40 countries and 151 collections. Here’s a brief video outlining how it works:

If you teach Art, Art History, or want to incorporate artworks into your classroom, it is a great free resource to explore collections from around the world. Students can even collect and curate their own works. They have several lesson plans and ideas in their education section.

Best Online and Interactive International Museums

Very few educators can take their class, hope on an airplane, skirt through customs, and visit the Hague. Here is a brief list of great museums that have wonderful online exhibits that can help to bring the museum and its contents to your students. This list is hardly all inclusive, please add your own!!

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum - The purpose of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial is to record the events at Hiroshima and Nagasaki and to educate the populace about the horrors of nuclear warfare. The powerful museum has numerous online exhibits, videos, images, lesson plans, and more.

National Museum of Australia - One of the largest and most expansive museums in the world, the National Museum of Australia highlights the Natural Sciences, the Indigenous Peoples of Australia, and Art from around the world. Selected exhibits have interactive online components.

Anne Frank Museum - the online Anne Frank Museum includes documents in high resolution (including images), video, and a 3D tour of the apartment that housed the Frank house in Amsterdam.

The Uffizi Museum - The Digital Archives of the Uffizi museum are hosted online (not all works have been digitized, new pieces added regularly). This is an excellent tool to help students and educators explore the amazing art housed at this museum.

Rijksmuseum - The art from this Dutch museum has been catalogued, digitized, and put online. Each is accompanied with detailed history and, in some cases, external links and information. A wonderful site to explore.

British Museum - The British Museum is one of the largest and most expansive in the world. Selected exhibits are online.

The Hermitage Museum - The museum has a virtual tour of the museum online! You can now walk through the galleries (with 3D imagery) and examine individual works in their selected spaces.

The Louvre - The louvre also has virtual tours of the museum galleries. Walk through the halls and enjoy the art individually or as a collective whole.