Last week, graduate students at the University of Kansas (KU) were invited to an event at the Spencer Museum of Art. The event, called "University in the Art Museum" (or UAM) introduced graduate students to the many opportunities for object-based teaching, learning and research through collaborative partnerships with the museum. The UAM event aimed to build bridges between the museum and the rest of campus, and to demystify the process of accessing the museum and incorporating it into courses at KU.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be involved with the session as a co-facilitator. Last year, I was a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) for a Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies course. During the course, my colleagues and I brought in a group of over 100 undergraduate students. They were tasked with making connections between the art in the museum and our course content. Specifically, we asked them in what ways did they perceive the museum to be gendered or not? What representations of various identities did students perceive? Were the ways in which they interacted and responded to the museum perhaps different after having taking the course than before?
The students loved visiting the museum! As an instructor, it was exciting to see them come alive and to fully engage with the museum. Attendance was high on the day of the museum visit, and many students expressed that they were glad to have the opportunity to visit the museum for class. For many, it was their first time visiting the museum!
I also learned that the Spencer has a free, interactive app - "Spencer Museum of Art - KU" to provide access to museum information on or off campus. Check it out!