School Programs are a large and crucial part of the museum’s Education department’s work that may be less visible to the general visitor than other types of programming. School Programs staff have varied backgrounds, often as classroom teachers and artists, in museum studies, education, fine arts, art history, and Asian studies. We work closely with volunteer docents and storytellers, Education department colleagues, other museum departments, and teachers, administrators, artists, and arts providers in the community.
Throughout the year we are producing a variety of resources and programs. The work flow for school programs staff tends to follow the academic school year. In the summer months we are busy with planning and preparing for the new school year. This past summer we were busy with multiple workshops and partnerships, new online initiatives, training sessions for docents and storyteller volunteers, changes and updates to school tours, a vast and ongoing teacher survey and needs assessment,and registration and scheduling of school tours for the start of the school year in autumn.
By September we are welcoming the first of many school groups on guided school tours. Teachers of grades 1-12 are invited to bring their classes to the museum for free guided school tours on a variety of themes. School tours are designed to follow California state curriculum content standards and are held every weekday (except Mondays) from September through the beginning of June (with some exceptions.) Some popular tours include South and Southeast Asian Myths and Legends, Ancient China: Tombs and Temples, and the Spirit of the Samurai. This year we have some new offerings including a guided tour of special exhibitions and a tour focusing on the Silk Road. Last year more than 17,000 students participated in our school tours and we hope to surpass that number this year!
This video shows off the very popular Nature in Art: Chinese Brush-painting school tour offered for grades 4 and 5.
In addition to tours for students we offer a number of teacher workshops throughout the year. We offer workshops in the familiar format of day-long workshops for teachers that include talks and lectures by esteemed curators and scholars, teacher resource packets, and artist demonstrations and performances. This year in response to feedback from participating teachers we will offer Evening for Educators events in conjunction with the MATCHA program. It’s our way of saying thank you to teachers for all their hard work with a casual and lounge-like program where they can network with peers over wine, learn about Asian art and culture, and find classroom resources (and desserts), all while taking in the rich offerings of our popular MATCHA public program.
Our efforts also go beyond the four walls of our museum as well. Teacher packets and activities are available free online on the Educator Resources page of the museum’s website, and hardcopies are also free for loan or available for purchase. Many lectures and videos are available free on iTunes and Youtube and there are even brush-painting kits available free for loan to teachers.
School Programs are just one aspect of the variety of programs and resources available through the museum. School Programming focuses on K-12 teachers and students but is by no means limited exclusively to those audiences. You don’t have to be a school student or school teacher to learn about and teach others new things.
I firmly believe that life everyday is a learning experience. The world is our classroom and every person we meet is a potential teacher and a potential student. Teaching and learning is an act of love and a way of life. I’m sure my colleagues would agree. This love of learning begins at the youngest age. We are cultivating the next generation of learners and patrons of the arts.
I vividly recall my own numerous childhood family and school visits to the natural history museum and art museum in my hometown. I recall seeing inconceivably ancient bones, strange tools, and bizarre images. It blew my mind. It all seemed to come from a fantasy world. I couldn’t believe that these people or creatures could be real and that they had lived in the very same world that I lived in. I was compelled by awe and curiosity to reach out and grab those objects, to get as close as possible and connect to their origins. As an adult I understand why museums put everything in glass cases. But I always recall that initial sense of awe and smile when I see nose prints on the gallery cases here — especially when they are adult height nose prints.
So check out our School Programs webpage or email an inquiry if you have a specific question. School Programs are for everyone!
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