Museums and Communities News
February 2014
Serving over 20,000 families throughout Oklahoma, Philbrook MyMuseum introduces children, ages 4-12, to all aspects of the Philbrook collection with free art supplies and engaging art cards meant to assist caregivers as they interact with both child and work. © 2014 Philbrook Museum of Art

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

New Museum of Contemporary Art 

New York, 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.


Philbrook Museum of Art Focuses on Community

The Philbrook Museum of Art is wholly focused on using its collection, villa and gardens for the benefit of Tulsa and its citizens. An organizational shift at the Philbrook led to greatly expanded community programming, from free gallery programs for children to a partnership with the local food bank that used thousands of pounds of produce grown in Philbrook's gardens to feed the needy. More information on the Philbrook's shift toward community is available on AAMD's website and in the book Magnetic: The Art and Science of Engagement


Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute's Common Core Programs

From the Utica Observer-Dispatch: The Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute has incorporated Common Core learning standards into its own education programs, for the benefit of local teachers and students. For example, MWPAI's Art Story program uses books and the museum's collection to teach critical thinking and observation skills - hallmarks of the Common Core standards - to pre-kindegarten students. Working with the text as well as the artwork may help a wider range of students grasp these concepts. "People learn differently," said MWPAI education director April Oswald. "If you're learning from text that's one thing, and learning in one environment works up to a certain point, but when you change the environment and you change the object, then you have a better chance of reaching everyone."


The Corning Museum of Glass Partners for Alzheimer's Program

The Corning Museum of Glass has partnered with the Rockwell Museum of Western Art and the Alzheimer's Association, Rochester & Finger Lakes Region to create Meet Me at the Museum, a monthly program for visitors with Alzheimer's and dementia and their caregivers. Docents will highlight works from each museum's collection to spark conversations and memories. "We are excited to offer programming to people with dementia and to their caregivers," said Bonnie L. Wright, education and interpretation supervisor at The Corning Museum of Glass. "I'm looking forward to hearing what this audience will tell us about the glass too, through shared stories and memories elicited by the pieces on display."


Williams College students and visitors to the Williams College Museum of Art cast their votes in a lively debate for favorite WALLS artworks. More information on the WALLS program, which allows students to borrow original artworks, is available below.
 Photo by Kate Drew Miller.


Williams College Museum of Art's Art Loans for Living Spaces

A Dürer in your dorm room? That's right! A group of ninety lucky Williams College students have the unique opportunity to borrow an original work of art from the Williams College Museum of Art thanks to the Williams Art Loan for Living Spaces, or WALLS, program. WALLS allows students take an original artwork out on loan from a collection dedicated to this purpose. All Williams undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to participate.The WALLS collection is made up of 90 two-dimensional artworks including photography, prints, drawings, and paintings, from a 1518 woodcut by Albrecht Dürer to a 2012 photograph by American artist Curran Hatleberg. More information on WALLS is available on AAMD's website



New Museum of Contemporary Art Hosts Coat Drive
In conjunction with the exhibition Pawel Althamer: The Neighborsthe New Museum of Contemporary Art is hosting a coat drive to benefit needy New Yorkers. Visitors to the museum who bring a new or gently used men's coat will receive free admission for the duration of the Althamer show. The coats will benefit the Bowery Mission, which has served the homeless and hungry since 1879 and is located next door to the New Museum. Althamer often harnesses the institutional visibility of museums and galleries showing his work to benefit local communities. 

A Civil Political Discourse at the Norman Rockwell Museum
From the Berkshire Eagle: The Norman Rockwell Museum recently hosted a community discussion focused on creating a civil discourse amidst the US' deeply divided political environment. "A Nation Divided: Getting Past the Impasse" addressed problems with our current political system and why the atmosphere has become so factious. Panelists also highlighted the desire to help others, which crosses party lines. "If your neighbors' house is on fire or you come across a car accident, you are not going to say 'Oh my gosh, I wonder what their ideology is?' No. You run out and you offer help," said Jim Bronson, chairman of Berkshire County Republican Association. The discussion is part of a larger series at the Norman Rockwell Museum inspired by Norman Rockwell's Four Freedoms paintings.

Touch Tours at the Art Institute of Chicago

From ABC News Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago's touch tours for the non-sighted and visually impaired provide sculptures as well as reproductions to expose these visitors to works of art. "It's an effort to improve accessibility at Chicago's cultural organizations," said Lucas Livingsten, assistant director of senior programs. Sculptures in different materials and from different eras provide a variety of textures while the "tac tiles" represent two-dimensional works of art from the Art Institute's collection.