TMA Curators Contribute to Museum Education Textbook
Participants in the Museum as Sanctuary program examine a photograph by Chemehuevi artist Cara Romero in the exhibition The Western Sublime: Majestic Landscapes of the American West (Fall 2019). The 10-year-old Museum as Sanctuary is the subject of the first chapter in the new textbook for prospective art museum educators.
Two of TMA’s curators wrote chapters for a new art museum education textbook published last month (in paperback—the hardback edition comes out this week) called Engaging Communities Through Civic Engagement in Art Museum Education (edited by Bryna Bobick and Carissa DiCindio). Dr. Marianna Pegno, curator of community engagement, wrote about multivocality when working with refugees in the Museum as Sanctuary program. Morgan Wells, curator of education, coauthored a chapter with Xoe Fiss about creative aging programming that creates equitable and intentional opportunities for older adults, thus combating ageism.
Museum education as a field is shifting from responding to works of art to developing authentic opportunities for engagement with all communities. We’re thrilled that TMA staff and programs are influencing the training of future art museum educators. Below are abstracts of the two chapters from the book’s Detailed Table of Contents.
Chapter 1: “Engaging Refugee Audiences Through Process and Performance in Multivocal, Community-Based Programs”
Marianna Pegno, Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block, USA
This chapter explores multivocality, when working with refugees, as an approach to challenge and destabilize homogenizing narratives. Museum as Sanctuary is a long-term program at the Tucson Museum of Art that leverages community partnerships to engage refugee audiences through art-making and in-gallery activities. The author will explore how museums can foster multivocal, community-based programs by creating opportunities for participants to share their opinions, observations, and experiences in response to works of art on view and through their own artistic products. The theories of Trinh T. Minh-ha provide a lens for contextualizing the multivocality that emerges from collaborations and that honors difference, builds comfort, supports individual strengths, and welcomes change. Through a methodological blending of critical narrative inquiry and decolonizing theories, the author examines pedagogical strategies that include performance and process in order to unsettle monolithic ideas to make space for multiplicities.
Art of Memory, a partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association Desert Southwest Chapter, offers art-making programs for individuals with memory loss and their caregivers. The program was started in 2007.
Chapter 14: “The 50 Year Reunion: Considering Adults 55 and Better as an Essential Audience in the Art Museum”
Morgan Wells, Tucson Museum of Art, USA
Xoe Fiss, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, USA
By 2035, the aging population will be larger than that of people 18 and younger. More than ever, art museums must consider how to best serve this audience. Research on the development of aging adults highlights that creative aging programming provides a beneficial impact on the lives of older adults while helping to combat ageism and redefine how older adults are seen in cultural institutions. This chapter reviews the similarities and differences between the programming for adults 55 and older at the Tucson Museum of Art, a mid-size regional institution, and The John Michael Kohler Arts Center, a rural, contemporary arts center. Through an analysis of the two institutions’ programs for older adults, the authors discuss how older adults can fulfill the roles of visitor, participant, and learner when presented
with equitable and intentional opportunities.