Today, at the museum, we began to write our outlines for the tour on March 3rd. This will be our first tour in which we are presenting to teens from other museums. For our outlines, some groups began coming up with scripts including introductions, and questions we were going to ask throughout the tour. We also walked around to our pieces to see if we could gather up more information about them. Lastly, we took the final minutes to tell other groups how we were going to present and in which order we were going to do it. This allowed us to gain feedback on some things we should do and some things we shouldn’t do. We also got advice on some things we all should do as a team, like making sure we speak up, and making eye contact. This helped us prepare not only for this tour, but times after as well.
Today at the American Folk Art Museum we got to experience the new installation entitled “A Shared Legacy” independently and with our peers. The artwork depicts the growth of new cultural and social norms in 19th century America. New traditions, values, and ways of everyday life began to develop, which forever altered the country as a whole. We were given the task of identifying the main themes that the artwork presents and then themes were chosen to base our final tours around. Some themes that were identified by myself and my fellow interns were: capitalism, a growing middle class, death, farming/food, sickness, religion, and family. All of these themes can be seen in the family portraits full of symbolism, the often used trade figures, the intricate furniture, and so many more interesting pieces that are a part of this fascinating installation. The class today was very successful and many very interesting points were raised regarding “A Shared Legacy” which is why I can’t wait to see everyone’s final tours!
In class, we separated from the group with the partner we previously had chosen. The class as a whole jotted down possible themes we could use to classify the art. Each group had many overlaps with the themes. Some major themes we came across were family, death, tradition, political affairs, etc. Each pair was limited to four pieces of art, which had to be categorized into a theme of their choice. Specifically, my partner and I used the themes of death, family, entertainment, and tradition. We had a hard time trying to choose a theme from the beginning so we had to work backwards, we first chose the painting and then categorized it into a theme. Overall, we had a very good time and enjoyed categorizing the art into a theme, as well as learning more of the pieces of art as a whole.
After everyone showed up and we settled down, Laura told us to to go to her and listen to a varied selection of music to see, in our mind, what artwork we associate with the music and why. One song by Nirvana was called Smells Like Teen Spirit and I thought of Burning the Old South Church by John Hilling because I thought the people in the painting were like teenagers in the sense that they had the energy and the motivation to burn a building down. Other songs reminded other people of a boat on fire and more. After that, we were told to choose groups and go to a work of art after Nicole showed us how to ask questions that are not yes or no. They made the person really think about the artwork, like for example she asked what do you see, get closer and does it look different or not and why, what symbols or shapes do you see. When we were done, our groups went into the galleries tried it ourselves.
When everyone arrived, the first activity was that we listened to music and tried to make comparisons with the art around us. Then Nicole had us ask some questions that would be posed by a tour guide working at a museum. These questions were questions that actually made the audience think about the art. For example “What do you see here?” or “What does this remind you of?” This was a fun class because everyone had a chance to feel like a tour guide for people we are comfortable with and know well.