Class #8: Visiting the Rubin Museum of Art

This week, the Teen Docents ventured downtown to the Rubin Museum of Art, where they met with the Teen Guides Council. The TGC is a group of high school students, like our Teen Docents, who are interested in discussing works of art and learning about the world of museums. During this exchange, the Teen Guides Council students shared invaluable advice and experiences with the American Folk Art Museum’s Teen Docent corps.

After some refreshments, both groups spoke candidly about what they’ve learned thus far in their respective programs. The TGC students told us about their projects, including giving gallery tours and planning events for other high school students. The Teen Docents shared their understanding of folk art, described current exhibitions at the American Folk Art Museum, and reflected on their own class activities. Even though the museums have very different collections, the whole group realized their programs had much in common.

Rubin Museum of Art, Teen Guides Council

Rubin Museum of Art, Teen Guides Council

TGC guides then broke us into small groups and led gallery tours, even though the museum was closed to the public! They explored pieces from two exhibitions: Flip Side: The Unseen in Tibetan Art and Living Shrines of Uyghur China.

 Lisa Ross, Black Garden (An Offering), archival pigment print on cotton paper, 2009


Lisa Ross, Black Garden (An Offering), archival pigment print on cotton paper, 2009

The conversational approach of the tours allowed the Teen Docents and the TGC students to have a balanced dialogue about the artwork. Together, they explored a variety of different topics, including religious iconography, feminism, cultural practices around death, symbolism, and ritual. During a debrief back in the RMA’s Education Center, everyone seemed to agree that through collaborative group discussion, they were able to feel comfortable decoding very different expressions of Himalayan Art.

Finally, Teen Docents had the opportunity to give feedback to the Teen Guides Council. The Teen Docents were very impressed with both the artwork and the TGC students! They took note of their confidence and presentation styles, and, undoubtedly, they will use these skills in their own tours this May.

A big thank-you to the Teen Guides Council for a wonderful first experience at the Rubin Museum of Art. We can’t wait to show you our favorite pieces here at the American Folk Art Museum when you visit us next!

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