March 22-25, 2006
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Demonstrations: Description

Striking Gold: Mining the Resources of the Crocker Art Museum

Erica Wall, Crocker Art Museum, USA

The Crocker Art Museum, with generous support from the SBC Foundation, is in the process of digitizing the records of the 10,000 objects in its collection and making high-quality digital photographs of selected works of art available to the public over the Internet. To make our images more relevant to the public school system, we developed Striking Gold: Mining the Resources of the Crocker Art Museum. This project provides innovative, web-based art-education curricula to address the lack of art instruction in many California schools.

The goal of Striking Gold is to provide students and teachers with access to art resources from the Museum's collection that enable them to heighten their knowledge, appreciation, and understanding of history/social sciences and visual and language arts. Through the use of multimedia technology such as on-line virtual tours and an easily accessible data base of lesson plans, Striking Gold presents students with opportunities to view and utilize diverse art images. The program also gives teachers access to curriculum materials that support instruction in the California State Content Standards in visual arts, history/social sciences, and language arts specifically for grades four through twelve.

Striking Gold's lesson activities increase students' abilities to investigate the aesthetic and historical significance of primary sources from the Crocker's collection, including early photography, nineteenth-century genre paintings, and contemporary art in diverse media. These lessons encourage students to develop their critical-thinking skills by grounding their interpretations and reflections in the physical evidence present in the artworks Students and teachers have access to the Museum's collections database so that they can research other relevant works to enhance teaching history and the visual arts.

To develop Striking Gold, a project team of museum educators and history and visual-arts content specialists collaborated with graphic designers and web designers to create a content-rich, fully illustrated website with thirty, grade-level-specific lesson plans. In order to facilitate teachers' ability to use Striking Gold as an effective learning tool in the classroom, the Museum produced an online and printed teacher manual and conducted professional development workshops in the Sacramento region to introduce the program.

Striking Gold addresses the lack of art resources and art education in the California school system. Research has shown that when art education is integrated into the K-12 school curriculum, the results significantly impact a school's community and culture. Positive academic developments for children engaged in the arts are verifiable and have been shown to be consistent for children from all socioeconomic backgrounds. With the tight budget in California's public-education system, art-education programs have been seriously reduced. The Crocker Art Museum is committed to filling the void with its new web-based teacher resource, Striking Gold.

Demonstration: Demonstrations [Close-Up]

Keywords: education, art, history, interactive, teaching, curriculum