Smithsonian American Art Museum Plans Education Center and Expansion of National Outreach Programs

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is creating an education center that will allow it to significantly expand its national education program and meet the needs of the museum’s many education constituencies. The center will benefit students in classrooms across the nation and on U.S. military bases worldwide as well as school groups touring the museum, conservators, research fellows and educators. The museum recently received an $8 million private gift to support the creation of the center and a related program endowment.

The 2,300-square-foot facility will be located on the first floor of the museum’s historic main building, located at Eighth and F streets N.W. in Washington, D.C. Activities will include pre- and post-tour discussions, real-time video conference tours, professional workshops for educators, including the Clarice Smith Teacher Institutes, graduate seminars, presentations by research fellows and museum orientations. Distance learning is a priority for the museum’s education outreach, so the center will be equipped with a state-of-the-art video conferencing system.

“It has been a long-standing dream to have a space dedicated to the museum’s education program in our museum as a visible symbol of our commitment to education and a much needed flexible learning space,” said Elizabeth Broun, The Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. “The museum presents its extraordinary collection of American art as a basis for learning at all levels, using original artworks to teach about the American experience. When this education center opens, it will join the museum’s Luce Foundation Center and Lunder Conservation Center as innovative spaces that represent the core purposes of the museum education, collections and preservation.”

The endowment also will support the museum’s ambitious goal of creating new American history and civics resources for teachers and students based on the best artworks in the museum’s collection. A dedicated staff team and teacher advisory committee will shape this cross-disciplinary initiative and link it to state and national standards.

The center, which is in the early planning stages, is scheduled to be ready in the spring of 2012.

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published.