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Deb Hansen, Docent, Des Moines Art Center, Iowa (June 2018)

Sometimes I know in advance that my group will include a student who has autism and may get suggestions from the teacher or parent about how to support that student during their visit. More often, I don't know about a student's needs for support until the group arrives.

Before the tour starts, I try to talk to each child, build rapport with my group. Sometimes you will notice a child who is non-verbal or that demonstrates behaviors that give you a hint that supports might be needed. If possible, ask the chaperone to help you manage transitions and be prepared to help a child who might want to run or attempt to touch the art.

Deb Hansen, Docent, Des Moines Art Center, Iowa (June 2018)

Helpful Websites:

Autism in the Museum - A clearinghouse of best practices, models, ideas, resources and research about making museums, zoos, aquariums and other informal educational settings both welcoming and inclusive for people with autism and their families.

The Incluseum advances new ways of being a museum through critical dialogue, community building and collaborative practice related to inclusion in museums.

As museum educators, we're often worried about what's next: upcoming exhibitions, our next tour, planning special programs, etc. But if we open our minds to a different understanding of time, can we form a new relationship with the future?

Art, science, and Eastern philosophies offer a key to unlocking this possibility and we are exploring all these perspectives at the Rubin Museum of Art in 2018. This entire year will focus on reframing our relationship with the future and engaging visitors through future-themed exhibitions, programs, tours, and events.This was a welcome challenge when planning for docent trainings. My goal was to prepare our team to engage with visitors through the lens of Future, encouraging them to consider their hopes and anxieties and learn how concepts in Buddhism and Hinduism can help them expand their understanding.

March is Woman's History month and a very busy time at The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. Recently celebrating its 30th anniversary, the museum is home to over 5000 works of art by 1000 artists dating from the Renaissance to the present day. Along with the permanent collection and the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center, there are several spaces for special exhibitions. On view until May 28 is Women House featuring work by 36 artists including Judy Chicago, Louise Bourgeois, and Niki de Saint Phalle. Also on view are prints by Chinese-born artist Hung Liu through July 8th.


Exhibitions, Programming and Initiatives that Reflect the High's City & Region

The High continues to advance its outreach through exhibitions, programming and initiatives that better align and reflect the richness of Atlanta and the Southeast's depth and history with offerings like.......

● "A Fire That No Water Could Put Out": Bringing together more than 40 works drawn from the Museum's renowned collection of Civil Rights era photography, the exhibition surveys pivotal moments of the movement under Dr. King's leadership, following his death, and through the Black Lives Matter activism of today.

● "Making Africa," featuring contemporary design by more than 120 artists from 22 countries on the continent.

● The next installation of the High's "Picturing the South" series (Mark Steinmetz); the series supports established and emerging photographers in creating new bodies of work inspired by the American South for the Museum's collection.

● The High's ongoing participation, along with four other institutions, in the Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program, which provides specialized training in the curatorial field for students whose backgrounds are underrepresented in the museum field.

● The museum's expanding commitment to collecting works by African-American artists and recently introduced wall labels in the galleries so visitors can have greater insight into the creative minds behind the works on view.

● The continuation of the High's annual David C. Driskell Prize, the first national award to honor and celebrate contributions to the field of art of the African Diaspora, now approaching its 14th year.

● The Docent diversity committee.

Or, What it's Like to Have One of the Longest Titles Ever: Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum (NASM)

Being a volunteer at the Smithsonian Institution, the largest museum complex in the world, is an honor no matter what role you play. For me, best of all is being a NASM Docent. As a child a family vacation to Washington DC gave me my first exposure to the Smithsonian and the Air and Space Museum. From that time on I knew aviation and the Smithsonian would both be in my life. My military and civilian career path never led to a job with the Smithsonian. However, I did serve in the US Air Force and got my private pilot's license. Then, as soon as I became eligible to retire, I purposely scheduled my retirement date for a Friday and started volunteering at the Smithsonian that following Monday.

The Freer Gallery of Art, in Washington, D.C., re-opened to the public on 14 October after undergoing over 18 months of infrastructure repair. The Freer, along with the Sackler Gallery, comprise the Asian Art Museums of the Smithsonian Institution. The re-opening included a two-day "IlluminAsia" festival. It was 'all hands on deck' for the Freer|Sackler docent corps as the celebratory re-opening brought approximately 50,000 people to events both inside and outside the museum. Docents provided in-gallery interpretation, acted as 'way finders', and supervised activities for both adults and children during the weekend. Activities included an Asian night market on the National Mall, so popular that the food stalls sold out on the first day, requiring the chefs to stay up all night preparing food for the next day.

Sixty-one artist ensembles and community organizations participated during the Opening Weekend.

Format: Hardback
Pages: 296 pp
Illustrations: 240 illustrations
ISBN: 9780714873510

"Color is stronger than language. It's a subliminal communication," writes artist Louise Bourgeois as quoted in the introduction to Chromaphilia.

This handsome and compelling book uses 240 artworks as case studies to tell the story of ten individual colors or color groups. It explores the history and meaning of each color in art, highlighting fascinating tales of discovery and artistic passion, and offering easily understood explanations of the science and theory behind specific colors. From Isaac Newton's optics to impressionist theory, from the dynamics of Josef Albers to the contemporary metaphysics of Olafur Eliasson, this book shows how color paints our world.

Hope without Hype

Yellowstone Art Museum and Docent Host Alzheimer's Symposium 

A two-day symposium was held at the Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, MT in collaboration with the Alzheimer's Association, Montana Chapter.

The purpose was to bring the health care providers, family members and artists together to widen their understanding of Alzheimer's and related dementias and importantly the connections between the science and art. One of the hardest parts of dementia is communication. Art is one way for someone to communicate their feelings and tell their story when they have lost many other ways of communicating.

Like many art museums that serve school-age visitors, the Walters Art Museum seeks to make connections between our objects and the subjects students study in the classroom. This includes language arts, social studies, and art, but also math and science. The goals of our "Mathematical Masterpieces" tour are to help students recognize the presence and importance of math in the visual arts, understand how people in different cultures and at different times used math in creating works of art. You don't have to be a mathematician, or even very comfortable with math, to use the activities and approaches of this tour to help students – and docents – see even familiar works of art in a different way.

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