As the largest city in the American state of Massachusetts, and one of the oldest in the country, Boston is brimming with history that can fill the itinerary of school trips focusing on many subjects. It is the unofficial capital of New England, and one of the hubs of East Coast economics and culture. While exploring the famous quads of Harvard and learning about the history of the Puritans who first settled here in 1630, one cannot ignore the city’s wonderful array of museums and collections of art. The Museum of Fine Arts, The Institute of Contemporary Art, and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, are great places to visit to get a sense of the art and art history of the city.The Museum of Fine Arts – The museum was originally opened in 1876 in Copley Square with over 5,000 works of art; in 1909 it moved to its current location on Huntington Avenue. With art collections and exhibits ranging from Egyptian to the contemporary, the museum currently houses over 450,000 works. School trips taking in the museum are especially exciting since The New MFA was opened in 2010. The New MFA contains new wings for art from the Americas, European art, new teaching facilities, and wings for contemporary art. For those interested in studying arts at university, a visit to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, right across the street from the MFA, should be the next stop. Affiliated with Tufts University, the SMFA offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in a variety of artistic disciplines.The Institute of Contemporary Art – The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) was founded in 1936 as the Boston Museum of Modern Art. It was created as a space to identify and foster new and upcoming artists, and, as such is a great place for students. School trips here can reveal how the museum has been pivotal in the careers of Vanessa Beecroft, Ellen Gallagher, Oskar Kokoschka, Edvard Munch, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, and Roy Lichtenstein. Currently, the ICA is growing its support of (and educational programs dedicated to) filmmaking and documentaries, and is doing exciting work. The ICA is conveniently located at 100 Northern Avenue and is a very easy landmark to find.Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology – The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology is a part of Harvard University and is located at 11 Divinity Avenue. Founded in 1866, it is one of the oldest museums in the world dedicated to the history of human culture. School trips to the museum will enable students to explore some of the six million objects, 500,000 photographs, and records within. The collections of archaeology, ethnography, osteology, painting, drawing, and prints are particularly strong in regards to North, Central, and South America as well as Oceania.
Are you looking for educational crafts and activities to work on at home with your young children? Although you may not be an art teacher or ‘expert’, it is easy enough to don the cap when necessary to provide your kids with a bit of learning as well as an opportunity to develop their art skills. A great way to get your kids excited about art and art history is to create a basic lesson plan about one of the great artists in history. What follows is a breakdown of what you’ll need to come up with an art lesson for your children.Your lesson should include some of the following*:• Choose one of the great artists in history
• Provide biographical information about the artist
• Share some interesting facts about their lives
• Explain the mediums that they worked with and the works that they are known for
• Show examples of the artwork (photos, slideshows, images in books, virtual tour)*Consider your child’s age when gathering and presenting this information – adapt your language to suit their learning style and ability.At the preschool age, children are particularly receptive to and adept at learning language, thus it is a prime time to introduce them to the elements of art and art literacy. In teaching young children about art, a very basic understanding of its elements is invaluable. It will provide the rudimentary basis upon which children can develop and broaden their understanding, creation and analysis of art.Once you’ve done your research, you can present the information to your child in a variety of ways. You could approach the task as you would ‘reading time’ with your child, and read from your sources. Alternatively, you could set up a study space in your house where you can sit and learn with your children. Regardless of how you present or share the information with your children, it is important that you provide them with an opportunity to do a bit of creating on their own.Find a suitable medium and the materials for your children to work with. Set up an art/craft work area and let your kids explore and create independently, inspired by the artist you are introducing. Try to link the lesson taught with the medium provided. For instance, if you’ve been discussing Michelangelo’s sculptures, you may want to give your children clay to sculpt with.These mini art lessons are a great way to spend quality time with your children, and the fact that they experience the enrichment of learning is a huge bonus!