Friday, October 9, 2009

A Field Trip to the Kimbell Art Museum

Children attending the Northside Community Center’s After School Program have a distinct learning advantage by participating in the center’s cultural program. Each month a cultural activity is offered. Through this opportunity the children can continue to increase their knowledge while outside the classroom.

Recently, the children and staff ventured down to the cultural district in Ft. Worth. Their destination: the Kimbell Art Museum. The museum is an exceptional place for the children to visit and learn interesting things, while in a new environment.

After being greeted by the museum’s docents, the children began their tour. Their first stop was the Asian exhibit.

Inside the Asian exhibit, the children watched a film installation called, “Arhat Taming the Dragon” by Phillip Haan. Several children did not understand why they were watching a movie in an art museum. Joann, the museum docent, explained that the movie is a piece of art about art.

Next, Joann led the children to the Egyptian exhibit, were they studied Egyptian mummy sculptures. While looking closely at Pharaoh Amenotep II, the children learned why ancient Egyptians made mummies. Joann explained that Egyptians believed that if a person was wrapped like a mummy after dying, the person could still spiritually live and later come back in another life.

The final observation was paintings by Henry Raeburn and Frederic Lieghton. To quiz the children, the docent asked what they noticed about the people in the paintings.

Henry Raeburn

Frederic Lieghton

The children immediately guessed, “They have fancy clothes on!” Their thinking caps were on, and the children had learned that in the seventeenth century, only wealthy people were able to afford portraits.

Surveying the children’s faces, each child had learned something new that day. Their knowledge of art and culture had been expanded. Here’s what three children said about what they learned.

Paityn, eight years old, says, “I liked the Mummies! They were really old.”

Noah, ten years old, liked the paintings. “I learned something new and it was really cool.”

Zanadra, eight years old, enjoyed the Asian exhibits. “In the movie, the dragon means it will be a storm. It is helpful to the people.”

Closing the tour, Larry Logger, another docent said it best about their trip. “The children not only learned about different cultures, but they learned that in art, an artist is always telling a story, and the viewer is to look for clues - unusual clues.”

What a fantastic learning experience for the children at the Northside Community Center!

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