VALUE Research Hub

Methods and Models for Museum Learning at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art


Wyman, S. M., Waldo, J. T., & Doherty, D. (2016). Methods and Models for Museum Learning at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art. Journal for Learning Through the Arts, 12(1).


Recent education policy designed to promote arts education tends to focus on how such curriculum supports "skills for innovation" required for success in the global economy. Emphasis on the transfer of arts-based learning to professional innovation and achievement, a dynamic that is difficult to determine, can undermine the value of teaching the arts for their own sake. Three professors at the State University of New York at New Paltz discuss curriculum they developed to take advantage of museum learning opportunities that promote critical thinking, foster innovation, support course content, and increase students' sense of citizenship and belonging. Jennifer Waldo, a professor of Biology, Dennis Doherty, a professor of English and Creative Writing, and Sarah Wyman, a professor of 20th century Comparative Literature, use their campus museum as an applied learning environment where they facilitate interdisciplinary, experiential educational activities that develop student agency and encourage imaginative inquiry. The professors comment on their curriculum, their cross-disciplinary conversations, student reactions, and indicators of transfer. In addition, they present a strategy for assessing student-learning outcomes within a context that values the visual arts as fundamental to liberal arts and sciences education.

Themes: Art Education, Biology, Citizenship, College Curriculum, College Students, Course Content, Creative Writing, Critical Thinking, Curriculum Development, English, Experiential Learning, Innovation, Integrated Curriculum, Interdisciplinary Approach, Learning Activities, Museums, Scoring rubrics, State Universities, Student Evaluation, Student Reaction, Transfer of Training, Twentieth Century Literature