Docent Educator Logo

For Your Consideration 5.4

Barcelona’s Museum of Contemporary Art

A new $35 million Contemporary Art Museum opened this past autumn in Barcelona, Spain. The museum, designed by American architect Richard Meier, has received great praise for its beauty and collection. Complementing Barcelona’s fine Picasso Museum and a hilltop foundation containing a collection of Miro’s work, the Contemporary Art Museum is currently presenting an exhibition of the Dada and Expressionist movements with a strong representation of Spanish and Catalan artists.

In addition to generating great excitement among the artistic community, completion of the Contemporary Art Museum of Barcelona is credited with revitalizing the Raval neighborhood on the edge of Barcelona’s old Gothic quarter. Inaugurated by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, the Museum is located at 1 Plaça deis Angles, telephone (93) 412 08 10.

An Accommodating Schedule

The Alabama Department of Archives and History, in Montgomery, provides teachers with several ways to explore their museum. During the week, docent-led tours are available for all grade levels. Each tour examines the collection using a theme, such as: The American Indian, 19th Century Life, or The Civil War Soldier. If a teacher prefers to tour the students on their own, the Archives books the group visit on Fridays. The Archives sends the teacher background information and permits the class to tour at their own pace. If a teacher wishes students to have both a docent-led tour and free time to return to the exhibitions on their own, the museum books the tour on Mondays.

On Mondays, docent-led tours are offered at specific times with time provided in-between for classes to use the galleries on their own.

Parks as Classrooms

In 1872, the United States became the first country to set aside land as a national park with the creation of Yellowstone National Park. Today, almost every nation in the world has some sort of national park system and most are patterned after the Yellowstone idea.

There are over 350 national parks across the United States, including parks in such large cities as New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and St. Louis. National parks can encompass sites that re-create the lives of famous people like George Washington, Martin Luther King, and Clara Barton, showing visitors where they grew up, where they worked, and how they lived.

National parks protect lands and resources. They provide visitors with views of coastal and interior ecosystems. Mammals, fish, birds, and other living things benefit from the parks, as do the visitors who are able to observe them. Parks are among our most essential outdoor classrooms.

New Rules for Pre-K

According to Teacher Magazine, new rules for teaching preschool children are springing up throughout the country. While in the past, teachers may have had to take a class or two in child development, that is changing. An increasing number of schools offering prekindergarten, and a wave of research deploring the lack of age-appropriate training in the child-care industry, have led almost a dozen states to upgrade their licensing requirements for early childhood teachers.

National experts believe that the licensing changes will make a dent in one of the biggest barriers to high-quality care: poor professional training. Advocates for youngsters point out, however, that these changes generally apply to public school teachers only, and public schools only represent a small portion of the child-care industry.

A Regional Docent Conference

The 6th annual Docent Education Conference will be held by The Museum of Arts and Science in Daytona Beach, Florida, on Monday, November 18, 1996. The theme of this year’s conference is “Visitor Centered Approaches to Museum Education,” and will include workshops by Myriam Springuel, former associate director for programs at the Smithsonian Institution. The registration deadline is Monday, September 30. For more information, call Johanna Riddle, Curator of Education, at (904) 255-0285, extension 22.

The Power of Art

Have you ever wondered why, if art is as peripheral to the “real world” as is often proclaimed, works of art are so coveted by the victors of wars? Countless examples exist where paintings, drawings, and other works of art were seized and stolen during colonial and war times. Take, for instance, the extensive collection of ancient Egyptian relics removed by the British, or the recent acknowledgment by the Russians that when Soviet troops returned home from World War II, they took with them thousands of works from what was to become East Germany.

“For Your Consideration,” The Docent Educator 5.4 (Summer 1996): 10.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *