"Art for everyone" at the Georgia Museum of Art : the importance of sociocultural context for school field trips to art museums




Steinmann, Callan Elizabeth

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This thesis is a qualitative case study of a 5th grade field trip program at the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens, Georgia. The value – educational, social, and otherwise – of direct experiences with artworks in the museum setting has been demonstrated in numerous studies (Adams & Sibille, 2005; Burchenal & Grohe, 2007; Burchenal & Lasser, 2007; Henry, 1992; Hubard, 2007), and the single-visit field trip program has been a staple of educational programming at many art museums across the United States. However, much of the recent literature in art education focuses on the benefits of multiple-visit field trip programming (Burchenal & Grohe, 2007; Burchenal & Lasser, 2007), in effect “abandoning” the single-visit program. Given that the single-visit field trip remains a standard in the field, this study sought to explore the ways museum educators can maximize the value of the one-shot field trip model in art museums. Through observations of a 5th grade class on their field trip to the Georgia Museum of Art, interviews with program stakeholders (including museum educators, museum director, the school art teacher, and program donor), and collecting the students’ perspective through written questionnaires, this study revealed insight into the one-visit field trip. An analysis of the various issues and perspectives involved with this type of programming substantiated the hypothesis that there is valuable information to be learned from looking closer at the single-visit program. The findings suggest that by situating itself authentically in its own community, the art museum can make single-visit field trip programs more relevant to students’ lives by employing culturally responsive teaching practices.




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