Grinnell College Museum of Art prepares the audience for the future

0
923
Students from the Grinnell College Preschool attend an arts outreach program led by the college in the Grinnell College Museum of Art March 16, 2023. (Photo by Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College)

Tilly Woodward, GCMoA Curator of Academic and Community Outreach, discusses an exhibition of recent work by Grinnell College Assistant Professor Jeremy Chen with students from Grinnell College Preschool.Photo by Justin Hayworth.

 

GRINNELL, Iowa – If you think of art museums as a quiet place for adults, think again. Over the past 30 years, museums have been increasing their engagement of young children. Research shows that the brain grows 90% in the first 5 years of life, so this is a crucial time to provide outreach programs for preschoolers.

 

Museum-going habits formed in early childhood can shape how a young child views, supports, and contributes to museums in the future. According to the American Alliance of Museums, a good museum experience for a young child “starts with community, relevance, and meaningful engagement.”

 

Tilly Woodward, Grinnell College Museum of Art Curator of Academic and Community Outreach, has been welcoming Grinnell community preschoolers to the museum for more than a decade. Woodward engages the youngsters in lively conversations about museum exhibitions and then guides participants in an art making activity related to the art they have discussed. Woodward, who was recently recognized as a Grand Grinnellian because of her outreach programs, currently works with Grinnell College Preschool, Loving Hands Daycare, and the Grinnell UCC Community Preschool. During the past six months, she has provided 18 different opportunities for these young audiences to experience art in the museum and make related art of their own.

 

Museums are ideal spaces for young children to learn because participants can explore their interests through authentic objects and participatory activities. Programs such as the one Woodward leads at GCMoA can also help young audiences expand their thinking as they encounter objects that help them understand abstract ideas.

 

Information for visitors

Grinnell College Museum of Art, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, 1108 Park St., Grinnell. Information about the museum is available at: grinnell.edu/museum or call 641-269-4660. The museum is open to the public and always free. Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 11 am to 5:30 pm and Saturday from 12 to 5 pm. Visitors may use the west (Park Street facing) or north (campus facing) doors to the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts. Minors under age 18 need to be accompanied by an adult.

Grinnell College welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Information about parking and accessibility is available on the college’s website: grinnell.edu. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or calendar@grinnell.edu.

Students from the Grinnell College Preschool attend an arts outreach program led by the college in the Grinnell College Museum of Art March 16, 2023.
(Photo by Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College)

Tilly Woodward, GCMoA Curator of Academic and Community Outreach, discusses an exhibition of recent work by Grinnell College Assistant Professor Jeremy Chen with students from Grinnell College Preschool.Photo by Justin Hayworth.

Students from the Grinnell College Preschool attend an arts outreach program led by the college in the Grinnell College Museum of Art March 16, 2023.
(Photo by Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College)

Students from Grinnell College Preschool participate in a tour of Devices, Tools, Objects, and Props: Recent Work by Jeremy Chen at GCMoA. Photo by Justin Haworth.