Museums and Communities News
November 2013 
Family activities at the 12th Annual Gay Day at Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens in Washington, DC. More information on Gay Day is below.
Image courtesy of Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens

Following is our monthly roundup of stories demonstrating the myriad ways AAMD member museums serve their communities.  


AAMD museums - we want your stories! If you have a community program you would like to see featured in Museums and Communities news please contact Alison Wade.


Columbus, OH


AAMD's mapping project provides a vivid illustration of museums' reach across their communities.  Participation is free and available to all AAMD members, including museums in Mexico and Canada. If you are interested in having your museum services mapped please contact Andy Finch.



Gay Day at Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens

On September 28, Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens presented its 12th annual Gay Day, a day-long program welcoming the LGBT community to the museum. The event included a family-focused breakfast and hands-on activities offered in partnership with Rainbow Families DC; a display of mid-century cars from Straight Eights; and square dancing with DC Lambda Squares


The day concluded with a celebratory reception hosted by the museum's executive director, Kate Markert, which included entertainment by DC Swing! Over 600 visitors attended Gay Day. Hillwood proudly welcomes the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities. More pictures and information on Gay Day are available at Hillwood's website.



Museums Welcome Art Lovers with Disabilities

A recent New York Times article highlighted the accessibility programs that many museums provide for visitors with visual, hearing, memory, or mobility difficulties. The article features both low- and high-tech programs, including touch tours for the visually impaired; tours before opening hours for families with children on the autism spectrum; and multisensory stations that allow visitors to experience exhibits though scent, touch, music and verbal imaging. The AAMD members featured in this article wereMetropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts BostonArt Institute of Chicago, Whitney Museum of American Art, Norton Museum of Art, Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, North Carolina Museum of Art, and The Guggenheim Museum



Bass Museum of Art to Expand Education Facilities

The Bass Museum of Art has announced an expansion that will equip the museum to greatly increase the number of participants it currently serves through educational programs. The Museum will receive $7.5 million from the City of Miami Beach for the expansion, which will also include exhibition space and will be completed in 2014 for the Bass' 50th anniversary. "We are working to create an improved and functional design that will provide 47 percent more exhibition and program space within the museum's same building footprint," says Silvia Karman Cubiņa, Executive Director and Chief Curator, Bass Museum of Art. More information is available at the Bass Museum of Art website.
Educators participating in the the Art, Books and Creativity Teacher Institute
National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC. 
Photograph courtesy of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.


National Museum of Women in the Arts Hosts Teacher Institute

The National Museum of Women in the Arts' Education Department welcomed 19 educators from the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area to its 4th annual Art, Books, and Creativity (ABC) Teacher Institute July 15 -19. Participants spent the week learning about the ABC curriculum, which integrates the visual arts and language arts and is inspired by the museum's unique collection of artists' books. They explored ways to implement the ABC lessons in their classrooms, crafted books in a range of formats, wrote narratives and poems, discussed artworks, and learned with and from each other. Of the experience, one teacher reflected, "I found myself making deeper connections with ways to integrate art with a variety of subject areas covered by STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math]."  Another appreciated the seminar format: "Time with colleagues was key-we shared problems, solutions, and good times. So energized; so thankful."



Outdoor Media Gallery at the Burchfield Penney Art Center

In October, the Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo, NY unveiled the Front Yard, a permanent, environmentally-responsive, 24/7/365 outdoor new media gallery for electronic image and sound on the Center's facade. The concept for the Front Yard is the brainchild of SUNY Buffalo State staff member/media artist Brian Milbrand and artist/architect and clinical assistant professor of architecture at the University at Buffalo Brad Wales, who imagined transforming the exterior of the Burchfield Penney into a backdrop for audio and image, created and presented based on a variety of cues drawn from changes in the weather. The two worked with undergraduate architecture students from Small Built Works at the UB's School of Architecture and Planning and communication students from Buffalo State to bring the concept to fruition over the course of the 2012/2013 academic year. For more information and pictures of the Front Yard visit the BPAC website.



Celebrating the Convergence of Cultures at the Boise Art Museum

The convergence of cultures is a global phenomenon that was embraced and explored at the Boise Art Museum (BAM) on October 24.  In conjunction with the exhibition Kehinde Wiley, The World Stage: Israel, BAM hosted a rich and dynamic exhibition closing event that celebrated the merging of cultures, the vibrant local community, and the artwork of Kehinde Wiley. 


This artistic, musical and culinary event was called CONVERGE.  Inspired by the paintings on display and the Hebrew/Ethiopian/Rastafarian rap of one of the artist's subjects, Kalkidan Mashasha, the gathering paid homage to the fact that Boise has also become a melting pot of people from diverse regions, backgrounds, and traditions, all contributing to our cultural community.  Restaurants were invited to participate through a creative partnership to provide guests with sample fusion dishes inspired by more than one culture. In addition, BAM featured six local DJs, who were challenged to produce creative sets that showcased traditional music inspired by one of the countries in The World Stage series, mixed with music that reflected their own artistic identities.  The idea was to blend cultures while interweaving the old and new, mingling museum object and popular culture.