What is art?

What can we learn from art?

In the Museum, we create opportunities for students to demonstrate their ability and creativity, using the galleries as a site for intentional learning. There are many strategies that can be used to deepen student understanding and interpretation of museum objects, and to increase the length of time students are engaged with a work of art.

One of the goals of the Object Stories program was to demonstrate how ordinary objects receive and accrue meaning, as a corollary to the same processes that take place in museum objects of the past and present. Students can use objects to teach us about themselves, their identities and  how they understand the worldtheir fears, aspirations and values. Using these objects as a catalyst we consider each others’ stories, and it is a small step to using Museum objects to do the same: translating object literacy into art literacy.

In developing and selecting activities, it is important to consider your learning objectives.

  • What do I want students to know? The answer to this question should inform your choice of art object.
  • “How do I want students to demonstrate their understanding?” This should inform the type of activity you choose.

Tell us about your own ideas for student activities and we’ll share them on this website, leave feedback on our blog or visit Downloads to access educator resources.

To see the art objects in the collection and search for what is currently on view, visit Online Collections >>>

Interested in booking a visit? Educators can book tours online at the Portland Art Museum’s website >>>