Educating the Educators

The Rubin Museum of Art prides itself on our engaging, exciting, and enlightening education programs from school workshops to public tours of the exhibitions. Aside from a dedicated Education and Engagement staff, the Rubin also cultivates a team of part time educators know as The Guides. Although they have a variety of backgrounds, fields of education, and career goals, the Guides are known for being knowledgeable, charismatic, and just plain really good at what they do. In an effort to create a forum for these talented educators to hear about new museum initiatives, share their experiences, and learn from each other, we have begun a program of monthly Educator Meetups.

The biggest obstacle that we face with this part time team is getting everyone together at the same time. With many of the Guides being in school and having other part time jobs, it is very rare indeed for the whole team to all be in the same room together. The monthly Meetups, held on Sunday afternoons, are meant to be at once educational and social gatherings where the Guides can learn, create, share and even play a little.

For our first Meetup on March 9th, the Guides got together to learn about a new K-12 thematic tour and workshop combo centered on the Rubin’s newly opened Bodies in Balance: The Art of┬áTibetan Medicine exhibition.

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After being forced to sit through a boring Power Point presentation by the Coordinator of School Programs (I’m allowed to say this because I made the presentation), the Guides got the opportunity to get their hands dirty and make some wrapped amulets! The main goal, for School Programs, when teaching with the Tibetan Medicine exhibition, is to encourage students to think about their own idea of what it means to be healthy, both in body and in mind. The thematic tour will utilize movement activities to learn about the importance of balance, whether it be physical or mental, and the workshop will ask students to think of objects or activities that represent what makes them feel healthy. Although the guides don’t typically lead workshops, it is important for them to know what the students are going to do either before or after their tour so that they know what points to emphasize and what objects in the galleries are most relevant to the workshop. Plus, who doesn’t want to spend a Sunday afternoon making art?

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Amulets are used often in Tibet for the purposes of healing, good luck, and protection. Typically, they are created by a ritual specialist or an astrologer and are customized to the wearer. Each of the guides was asked to create a personal mandala that illustrated actions or objects that made them feel healthy. The mandalas were then folded up with some aromatic herbs inside, and wrapped with colored thread.

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A perk of bringing together all of the great minds of the Guides is that we can get a great deal of valuable feedback on the tours and programs from the people who are leading them most frequently. This was an excellent beginning to what we hope will become an ongoing tradition for the Guides. In the future, we will be going on some field trips to learn about what other museums are doing for their K-12 audiences. So stay tuned!

 

 

 

About Laura B

Laura B is the Coordinator of School Programs, focusing on K-12 gallery-based programs, at the Rubin Museum of Art. With an education in Art history and an MA in Museum Studies, Laura has worked at various museums around New York City including the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Laura has found a home in the Education Department at the Rubin and she enjoys the sense of community that the museum engenders among all of its employees. She hopes to continue to grow both professionally and personally while teaching and learning about the art of Himalayan Asia.
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