Museums and Communities News
January 2014
As part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. day of service, visitors to the Philadelphia Museum of Art create greeting cards for the Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA). MANNA home-delivers nutritious meals to patients with life-threatening illnesses. More information on the day of service is below. Photo by Andrea Nunez.

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.


Map of the Month

Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center

Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY



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.


"Listening to the Ancestors" at the Portland Art Museum 

Beginning in fall 2013, Oregon's Portland Art Museum launched a partnership with the Native American Youth Association (NAYA) Family Center to connect urban Indian youth with objects from the Museum's widely-recognized Native American collection. Through the community-based initiative called Object Stories, participating students were invited to choose an object that resonated with them in a meaningful way, conduct research on the work, and then record their personal narratives related to that object. The stories created by Native youth are being presented along with their selected artworks in the Museum's Object Stories gallery as well as online at The result of a strong collaboration between education and curatorial staff, the experiences and stories that are part of this project offer an alternative perspective on these beautiful works of Native American art and provide an avenue for understanding historic Native art in the context of the modern urban, Indian experience.


Learn more about this project and Object Stories by visiting the Museum's website:

Native American Youth Association teens view objects from the Portland Art Museum's Native American collection. Each teen selected and researched an object, then recorded a personal narrative related to their chosen piece, as part of PAM's Object Stories program.
Image courtesy of the Portland Art Museum.

MLK Jr. Day of Service at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

On January 20, the Philadelphia Museum of Art partnered with Global Citizen and served as a workshop site during the nation's largest Martin Luther King Day of Service event. Throughout the day, the Museum's annual Art & Service workshop offered community service activities for all ages. Museum visitors created greeting cards that will be distributed with home-delivered meals provided by the Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA), which delivers meals to patients with life-threatening illnesses. Representatives from The Food Trust were on hand to talk about their work to ensure everyone has access to affordable, nutritious food, and special performance by The Camden Sophisticated Sisters Drill Team kept the day's energy high. The Museum also launched the Book Of Dreams, an ongoing civic engagement art project which asks "how are you celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?" 


Throughout 2014, PMA will invite people to use words and pictures to let us know what they're doing to improve their community, either in person or by emailing



Youth Enironmental Art Contest at the Grand Rapids Art Museum

From For the fourth year, the Grand Rapids Art Museum sponsored a youth art contest with the Wege Foundation on the theme of environmental awareness. Almost 500 youth from around the state submitted original artworks inspired by by the book Sooper Yooper: Environmental Defender by artist Mark Heckman and writer Mark Newman. 48 students were recognized for their submissions at GRAM in December, and the winning works are on view at the museum through the end of January.
San Antonio Museum of Art Partners with Local Schools

From the San Antonio Express-News: The San Antonio Museum of Art has reinvented its education programs to complement state education standards and local school curricula. The museum has partnered with three local school districts and worked with teachers to create museum tours customized for their respective classes. One principal said the field trips are so popular she schedules them on days that are typically low-attendance days. SAMA expects to serve 3,750 students this year. "We want the whole city to know that this can be their classroom," said SAMA director Katie Luber. 



Montclair Art Museum's Crowdsourced Centennial Audio Tour

In celebration of the museum's 100th birthday, the Montclair Art Museum's education department launched 100 Years, 100 Voices, a participatory interpretation initiative around the exhibition 100 Works for 100 Years. The project invites members of the community to respond to their favorite work in the exhibition by recording an audio segment. Museum patrons can access these contributions by artists, historians, poets, collectors, and students of all ages by using the Museum's cell phone tour system. The participatory project is built on a pluralistic perspective on the work and is open to everyone, young or old, local or from out of town, first-time museumgoer, and longstanding member alike. All are invited to record their responses to the works on view for the duration on the exhibition, through July 31, 2014. For more information and to learn how to submit a recording visit the MAM's website (under Fall 2013 highlights.)



The MFA Boston's Art Activity table at Christmas in the City, an annual, non-denominational holiday event for homeless families. MFA staff also contributed 235 toys to the party. This is the second year the MFA Boston has participated in Christmas in the City.
Image courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston

MFA Boston Christmas in the City Update

Last month we reported on the Museum of Fine Arts Boston's participation in Christmas in the City, an annual non-denominational holiday party which provides gifts and activities for homeless children and parents. Over 5,000 homeless and low-income children and families attended this year's party. MFA Boston staff contributed 235 toys for the children, and the art activity table was enjoyed by 300 children and families. 



Pérez Art Museum Miami is "Open for Kids"

On January 8, the Knight Foundation's Knight Schools Program was launched at the Pérez Art Museum Miami with a visit from sixty third graders. These students were the first of nearly 27,000  third grade students in Miami-Dade County who will be able to visit PAMM for free, thanks to Knight's support. PAMM director Thom Collins said that the Knight Schools Program will "ensure every year, generations of kids growing up here in Miami will have the shared experience of learning about the arts and learning about the world through the arts." More information, plus pictures and video, are available at the Knight Foundation blog.