Museums are a great way to learn about our history and to explore the amazing inventions that have been created to make our lives easier and more interesting. Whether we explore our world through constructed displays, videos, or hands-on experiences, museums are a wonderful way to learn, to create, and to explore.
The International Council of Museums (ICOM), created in 1946, is a worldwide organisation of museums and museum professionals. This organization has over 37,000 members in 141 countries and is dedicated to “promoting and protecting natural and cultural heritage, present and future, tangible and intangible.” Every year since 1977, ICOM has declared a day around May 18th as International Museum Day. Their purpose in establishing this event was to convey the message that “Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.” http://imd.icom.museum/what-is-imd/a-little-bit-of-history/
There are so many wonderful museums across Canada. Try arranging a field trip with your students. Be sure to contact the museum ahead to ask about fun and educational activities that you can arrange for your visit. Check out this website to see where the museums are in your province! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_museums_in_Canada
You can explore museums in so many ways that provide content across the curriculum in history, geography, science, and the arts. For this set of activity bursts, we are concentrating on Visual Arts.
Gather students and ask:
Explain that museums are a wonderful way to find out how people lived before us, how they live now and how they might live in the future! They present information in the form of displays, dioramas, interactive games and activities, videos and so many other ways! Museums can also show you the creative works of crafts people, artists and musicians. Sometimes art museums are called galleries. Ask students if they have ever been to an art gallery.
Tell students that they are going to create an art gallery in their classroom.
Provide a variety of mediums (markers, crayons, paint, construction paper etc.). Select some of your favourite music that will inspire some creativity from your students. Consider a wide variety of genres of music, from classical to pop, reggae, jazz, country, folk, rock, and more. Try more than one genre and see how the music impacts the art.
While listening to the music, students create an artistic masterpiece that they think matches the way they feel when they hear that music.
When students have finished, ask:
Encourage students to look at the art around their homes and in their communities and try to decide what the artists were feeling when they created these pieces.
Post the class-made masterpieces and invite other classes or parents to come to your “Museum of Art!”
For more great ideas on drawing to music, check out: https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/149674387592568671/
Note: You will need paper (white and other colours), scissors, glue, paints and brushes and a variety of other materials such as pieces of cardboard, felt, ribbon, buttons, etc.
Ask students if they have ever been to an art gallery. Explain that Canada has so many talented artists that share their work with us in galleries, museums, public buildings and our homes. Point out that artists can be people who perform as actors, dancers, musicians, writers, and other types of creators.
Explain that today they are going to focus on the type of artists who paint. These people are called visual artists. Ask students if they can name any Canadian artists. Share the names of some of the following famous Canadian painters: Tom Thompson, Emily Carr, Jean-Paul Riopelle, A.Y. Jackson, Alex Colville —so many wonderful Canadian artists from all walks of life!
Explain that one of Canada’s famous artists was a woman named Maud Lewis. Maud was born in Yarmouth Nova Scotia in 1903. She was plagued with arthritis that affected her hands, arms and shoulders, and at times made life very difficult. But Maud didn’t let that stop her from creating as much beautiful art as she could.
(Note: The text in this video moves fairly quickly so you may have to pause and either read aloud the text or give time for students to read it.)
Distribute white paper to each student. They will use Maud Lewis’ technique to paint a picture of something that is important to them. Explain how Maud used bright colours and a “layering” technique
Here are the steps:
Debrief the activity by asking:
Close by reminding students that art can be a wonderful way to express your feelings and enjoy the world around you, even if it isn’t always easy!
Ask students if they have ever been to a museum. Share responses, asking for clarification about type of museum, the location, theme, etc.
Explain that museums are a wonderful way to learn about history, people, inventions, science and nature. Tell students that today, they are going to do an activity related to a unique type of museum called an art gallery.
Share any information or experiences they may have had in an art gallery.
Explain that Canada has many visual artists, each with their own individual style. They may use charcoal, acrylics, water colours, oils or a combination of many different mediums. They may be painters or sculptors or print-makers. They sometimes have a theme that is seen throughout their work. It might be nature, or movement, or history or personal experience—anything that interests them. Artists may also create abstract work, meaning works that express the artist’s feelings or emotions, using shapes, forms, colours, and textures.
Share samples of Canadian abstract art (e.g., try an online image search with the keywords “Canadian abstract art”).
Challenge students to create their own abstract artwork. Provide paper, art supplies, and other materials such as string, pieces of fabric, twigs, glue, ribbon, etc.
When they have finished, ask each student to name their artwork and to explain what emotions, thoughts or feelings it was intended to convey to the viewer. Frame and post the pieces and invite other classes or parents to visit their gallery of abstract art.
Close by reminding students that there are many forms of visual arts and that it is interesting to learn about the different types before visiting an art gallery so that you can appreciate each style.
You may also find it helpful to view online video tutorials on various abstract art techniques suitable for young people. For example: