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Teaching in the Art Museum: Interpretation as Experienceby Rika Burnham
Synopses & Reviews
At the heart of all good art museum teaching is an effort to bring people and artworks together in meaningful ways. But what constitutes an experience of a work of art? What should be taught and why? What kinds of uniquely valuable experiences are museum educators alone equipped to provide? This bookandmdash;unlike any other publication currently availableandmdash;addresses these and myriad other questions and investigates the mission, history, theory, practice, and future prospects of museum education. Every critical issue that has preoccupied the profession throughout its hundred-year history is considered, including lecture- versus conversation-based formats; the place of information in gallery teaching; the relation of art museum teaching to the disciplines of art history, curation, and conservation; the use of questions to stimulate discussion; and the role of playfulness, self-awareness, and institutional context in constructing the visitorandrsquo;s experience.
The book will prove invaluable for all professional museum educators and volunteer docents as well as museum studies students, art and art history teachers, curators, and museum administrators. The essays distill the authorsandrsquo; decades of experience as practitioners and observers of gallery teaching across the United States and abroad. They offer a range of perspectives on which everyone involved with art museum education may reflect and in so doing, encourage education to take its proper place at the center of the twenty-first century art museum.
Book News Annotation:
The essays in this collection examine the mission, history, theory, practice, and future prospects of museum education, and describe contributors' experiences as practicing gallery teachers and observers of gallery teaching in the US and beyond. Some topics considered include lecture- vs. conversation-based formats, the place of information in gallery teaching, and the relationship between art museum teaching and the disciplines of art history, curation, and conservation. There is also discussion of gallery teaching as guided interpretation, encounters with difficult artworks, the misuses of questioning in museum gallery teaching, and gallery teaching as interpretive play. One chapter includes color art reproductions and b&w gallery photos. Of the 11 essays gathered here, four have been published in different versions in various journals. The book's audience includes professional museum educators and volunteer docents, museum studies students, art and art-history teachers, curators, and museum administrators. Burnham is head of education at The Frick Collection in New York City. Kai-Kee is education specialist at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
Rika Burnham is head of education at The Frick Collection in New York. Elliott Kai-Kee is an education specialist at the J. Paul Getty Museum.
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