The Association of Art Museum Directors, in partnership with the United States Department of Education in Washington, D.C., will present Museums: pARTners in Learning. This is their second collaboration to exhibit student art and creative writing resulting from AAMD member museums’ innovative educational programs offered in partnership with their local schools. This year, the exhibition features programs organized by 16 college- and university-based art museums, including the Burchfield Penney Art Center at SUNY Buffalo State, which underscore the breadth and range of art museum education today.
On view through August 29 at the U.S. Department of Education, Museums: pARTners in Learning celebrates the remarkable diligence and creativity of thousands of K–12 students across the country, and highlights the diverse ways in which direct engagement with the arts enriches students’ learning experiences, personal development, and critical thinking.
More than 100 seventh grade students from Buffalo’s Elmwood Franklin School became junior docents at the Burchfield Penney during the past three years. Working with the center’s docents and staff, students in this regionally-unique program learn how to provide interactive tours to both younger children and adult audiences. In the process they gain poise and garner confidence. This distinctive partnership provides opportunities to strengthen students’ communication and critical thinking skills as they become familiar with the history and practice of the Burchfield Penney with its collection of 50,000 art objects, the artistic contributions of Charles E. Burchfield (1893-1967), and the art and artists of Western New York State.
"SUNY Buffalo State is enthusiastic about the vibrant partnership between the Burchfield Penney Art Center and Elmwood Franklin School," said Howard Cohen, interim president, SUNY Buffalo State. “Museums—particularly those on college campuses—enrich the learning opportunities for young people and for our community more generally. It is inspiring to think about the skills and confidence gained by these outstanding seventh graders through their experience as junior docents at the Burchfield Penney.”
“The Junior Docent Program introduces students to visual arts vocabulary, art history, and analytical-skills through a series of visits to the Burchfield Penney. They learn how to look at art critically, understand the processes involved in their creation, and to communicate this understanding and knowledge to their classmates in a dynamic and engaging way.” said Mary Marino Kozub, education and tours manager at the Burchfield Penney. “The program strengthens communication and critical thinking skills and provides an understanding of how to look at and interpret a variety of art forms.”
"The Burchfield Penney Art Center and Elmwood Franklin School junior docent program has provided opportunity for both community building and learning. Beyond gaining a wealth of education on regional art and artists, junior docents participate in and contribute to the institution. The museum experience becomes active and not restricted to a place to visit, but a place to be a part of,” said Amy Hartman, art teacher at Elmwood Franklin. “Facilitating dialogue about a work of art requires these students to develop questions which engage both themselves and the tour participants in meaning making. Learning to ask big questions and engage in communication across generations builds life skills. The relationships built over multiple visits greatly impacts everyone involved in this wonderful program. We are grateful for the chance to work with the Burchfield Penney."
“Museums play a unique role in complementing our schools’ educational resources and provide invaluable access to arts education for students across the country,” said Chris Anagnos, executive director of AAMD. “Art is a powerful tool for encouraging new ways of thinking across disciplines. We are so pleased that the Burchfield Penney is participating in Museums: pARTners in Learning, and is committed to fostering innovative educational programs to promote student learning, engagement, and personal growth in Buffalo and Western New York. We are proud to work with the Department of Education to showcase the many ways in which museum-school partnerships can make a broader impact on the quality of K–12 education in the United States.”