I’m finally, finally getting around to making this post about the recent CTL-sponsored workshop at the Fleming Museum. Well-attended and really interesting, it was led by Evelyn Hankins, Curator and Margaret Tamulonis, Manager of Collections.
The first part was a tour beginning with the current (amazing!) visiting exhibitions, Goya’s Los Caprichos and The Inferno of Dante by Michael Mazur. Then we made the rounds to the permanent collection galleries. Throughout the tour, they gave background to the exhibitions or galleries, but also spoke to the purpose of the workshop: exploring the range of possibilities for teaching with/at the Museum.
After the tour, we went to the seminar room. Everyone had opportunities to ask questions and talk about their own teaching ideas. The faculty’s disciplines were varied – Philosophy, Biology, Anthropology, Computer Science, Chemistry and History – so the range of ideas was interesting. Evelyn and Margaret presented scenarios, using objects pulled from storage, to explore interdisciplinary and creative angles.
While the Fleming is a small museum, its permanent collection of art and anthropological artifacts includes about 22,000 objects, now, and is incredibly varied. Because of limited display space, however, about 98% of the collection is in storage. The good news is that storage is in the upper floors of the Museum itself, so objects that aren’t on display can be pulled for teaching purposes, as long as arrangements are made in advance with the Museum.
The upshot is that they’re committed to to the Museum’s academic mission. They encourage all faculty to bring them their questions and ideas for teaching, as well as concepts for exhibitions. (The current Michael Mazur exhibition came to be because of a faculty member’s suggestion.) They’re enthusiastic in supporting faculty in any way they can to utilize the Museum for teaching and learning.
For more on this topic and contact info, visit their website, http://www.flemingmuseum.org, and go to Education / UVM Academics.