Docent Forum: Art and Interactivity

Kayla Gurganus
Anthropology Intern

This summer, DOMA continues its docent training program with a two-part summer training session, which features interactive strategies for teaching about art in the galleries. The first meeting, on May 21, was led by DOMA’s education program coordinator Cathy Bretz. Bretz opened the meeting with two instructional videos from The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Coursera program titled, “Art & Activity: Interactive Strategies for Engaging with Art.” The free online courses provide educators and museum staff with the tools to create personal connections between visitors (namely students) and the artwork. In my experiences as both a docent and a visitor, I have found that people learn more effectively when they can relate the information back to their own lives while freely expressing themselves. By watching MoMA’s videos, docents learned the qualities of a good interactive activity, and how these qualities can be incorporated into meaningful learning opportunities for students. To learn more about MoMA’s Coursera program, please visit: https://www.coursera.org/moma.

Docents attempted to draw and answer question about this teakettle
Docents attempted to draw and answer question about this teakettle

After the videos, Bretz presented the docents with photos of some of DOMA’s decorative arts objects, along with a written activity to try out while keeping the video instructions in mind. The activity included a number of questions regarding the object’s form and function, and space to make sketches. After completing the activity, docents were encouraged to share their answers, thoughts, and suggestions for improving the activity.

The second summer meeting will take place Thursday, June 18th from 12:30-1:30 pm in AR 223. Non-docents are welcome and invited to learn more about the group and its activities.

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